Girls on Film #1: Patsy Kensit
I've decided to waste a blog every week with a special dedication to cinematic icons (or, just the opposite in the case of this week), either adored, forgotten, underappreciated, or on their way. This week, may I present Ms. Patsy Kensit. Though best known as the former flame and baby's momma of Oasis' Liam Gallagher, her contributions to both cinema and music were not slight. She began her musical career joining the forgotten 80s band (her brother's band) Eighth Wonder (their only hit being a saucy little diddy called "I'm Not Scared" produced by The Pet Shop Boys) as lead singer. If you're curious as to how she sounds, you could easily just pop in any early Kylie Minogue album and compare their whispery, robotic voices. Her first film role was as the daughter of Mia Farrow in The Great Gatsby (1974), written by Francis Ford Coppola. None of her other 1970s endeavors made any impact, until she starred opposite David Bowie and James Fox in Julien Temple's underrated musical Absolute Beginners (1986), where she also employed her singing abilities.
Her most famous roles came shortly after, as Mel Gibson's love interest in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) and in Philip Haas' lovely Angels and Insects (1995), where she plays a tragic aristocrat with a dark secret. Though unknown to most outside of England or Oasis' fanbase, Patsy Kensit always emerged above her lousiest film projects, including the made-for-TV sequel to Mario Puzo's The Last Don (1998) and the Gus Van Sant-produced Speedway Junky (1999). Maybe it's her butt-chin (à la Rose McGowan), or that she looks like the love-child of Kylie Minogue and Liz Phair, but I've always had my heart for Patsy.
See: Angels & Insects - dir. Philip Haas - 1995 - UK/USA or Grace of My Heart - dir. Allison Anders - 1996 - USA
Filmography (Other, Notable): Things Behind the Sun (2001), Tunnel Vision (1995), Bitter Harvest (1993), Twenty-One (1991), Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Absolute Beginners (1986)
Boys on Film #1: Benoît Magimel
As this is the first post in a continuing series, why not begin with a girl and a boy? The theme, I hope you've realized, for the first post is butt-chins, and who has a better one than French actor Benoît Magimel? He's another actor eclipsed by his more famous, former love interest, Juliette Binoche, with whom he had a child in 2000 after they met on the (lousy) film Les enfants du siècle [Children of the Century]. He was characterized early in his career as a mouthy French tough boy in several films including Mathieu Kassovitz's La haine (where he has a brief role as an Eminem-looking thug), Benoît Jacquot's La fille seule [A Single Girl] as the love interest of Virginie Ledoyen, and André Téchiné's Les voleurs [Thieves] where he plays the overbearing brother of Catherine Deneuve's lesbian lover.
As he aged his roles changed a bit, though it's hard not to notice his hard-ass-ness in Michael Haneke's La pianiste [The Piano Teacher], in which he won a Best Actor prize at Cannes as the younger, violent lover of Isabelle Huppert. A year prior, he played Louis XVI in Le roi danse [The King Is Dancing]. He followed up his Cannes win with a variety of films including two Claude Chabrol pictures and the sequel to Les rivières pourpres [Crimson Rivers] with Jean Reno. In his tough guy roles, his acting is dauntingly Brando-esque, unhinged and erratic. Yet he also plays dorky types against his striking good-looks, such as in Chabrol's La demoiselle d'honneur [The Bridesmaid]. He has yet to garner much attention stateside, possibly because he has stuck to French cinema, but actors like Benoît don't come around very often.
See: La pianiste [The Piano Teacher] - dir. Michael Haneke - 2001 - Austria/France or La demoiselle d'honneur [The Bridesmaid] - dir. Claude Chabrol - 2004 - France
Filmography (Other, Notable): Selon Charlie (2006), Les chevaliers du ciel [Sky Fighters] (2005), Les rivières pourpres II - Les anges de l'apocalypse [Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse] (2004), Errance (2003), La fleur du mal [The Flower of Evil] (2003), Nid de guêpes [The Nest] (2002), Selon Mathieu (2000), Les enfants du siècle [Children of the Century] (1999), Déjà mort [Already Dead] (1998), Les voleurs [Thieves] (1996), La fille seule [A Single Girl] (1995)