Thursday, December 18, 2008

20 fearless actresses

Sorry: I’m a little tardy to the party on this one. And, not having been tagged by anyone, I’m doing my jumping on the bandwagon thing again. But, hey, it’s a boring afternoon at the office and my brain’s too torpid with ennui to write a proper entry, so here goes.

Film Experience Blog kicked off a “20 favourite actresses” meme a couple of weeks ago. Here’s my take on it. What follows is actually the third list I compiled. The first was, as per the remit, my 20 favourite actresses, but there was a lot of overlap with lists already compiled (check the links over at Film Experience Blog).

Then I … how to put this without sounding like a lecher? … compiled a list of 20 actresses who I consider particularly radiant, whose presence in a film, irrespective of quality of performance, engages me on a level that … Oh screw it, I’m digging a hole here and it’s about time I put the shovel down. Basically, I compiled a “most fanciable” list.

Then I decided I didn’t want to sleep on the sofa tonight, and came up with the idea of 20 actresses who have given fearless performances. Fearless emotionally, fearless sexually, fearless in terms of pushing the envelope beyond anything they’d done before. I’ve credited each of them with one film that, for me, best typifies the fearlessness of their performance.

In some cases – Isabelle Huppert or Jodie Foster or Julianne Moore, for instance – I could have reference numerous roles. That I’ve kept it at one is more out of fairness to say, Linda Hayden or Christina Lindberg, whose entire careers were saddled with nymphet eye-candy roles but both of whom went for it big time the one occasion they were given a real role.*

So, in no particular order:

Jodie Foster (The Accused)

Susan George (Straw Dogs)

Christina Lindberg (Thriller: A Cruel Picture)

Helen Mirren (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover)

Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive)

Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener)

Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream)

Linda Hayden (Blood on Satan’s Claw)

Paz Vega (Sex and Lucia)

Asia Argento (The Stendahl Syndrome)

Ingrid Thulin (The Silence)

Julie Christie (Don’t Look Now)

Kate Winslet (Heavenly Creatures)

Jung Suh (The Isle)

Samantha Morton (Under the Skin)

Beryl Reid (The Killing of Sister George)

Julianne Moore (Savage Grace)

Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves)

Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter)

Isabelle Huppert (The Piano Teacher)

*I stand by Lindberg’s performance in ‘Thriller: A Cruel Picture’ as a real role, even if the film itself is firmly mired as a grubby little exploitationer.

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