Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Carry on Emmanuelle; since She Danced Naked in Manon Des Sources 20 Years Ago, Actress Emmanuelle Beart Has Become as Famous for Taking Her Clothes off as She Has Been for Her Talent. and at 39, She Tells Jasper Rees, She Doesn't Regret a Thing

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Carry on Emmanuelle; since She Danced Naked in Manon Des Sources 20 Years Ago, Actress Emmanuelle Beart Has Become as Famous for Taking Her Clothes off as She Has Been for Her Talent. and at 39, She Tells Jasper Rees, She Doesn't Regret a Thing

Article excerpt

Byline: JASPER REES

There is no doubt that Emmanuelle Beart is phenomenally beautiful.

What you don't bargain for, until you meet her, is how close she is to being a parody of beauty.

All the important features are somehow out of proportion - big eyes, huge lips, vast hair - like on a doll or in a cartoon.

It's a fantasy face, so its owner is well cast in Nathalie. She plays a prostitute hired by a woman to seduce a husband who dismisses his casual adulteries as mere bagatelles. Her job is to have the sex, and report back.

Beart is aware of the similarities between her job and her character's. 'It's a parallel you can make. There is this idea that you sell yourself and sometimes don't do it for pleasure.

You say, "I've been paid, I'm going to go to the finish." The decision wasn't just, "Oh, Nathalie is a good part." It was more perverse than that.

People always talk about my body and my face as having quite a sexual image.

And I wanted to take these things to the limit, to say, "You find something sexual in me, but I am going to see how far I can explore that part of my soul and my body, to play with this body, use this body with the camera."' In short, there are bags of nudity, as there have been for Beart - one of this year's Cannes Judges - ever since she played the goatherd in Manon Des Sources almost 20 years ago, most notably in La Belle Noiseuse and Une Femme Francaise. She is now 39 and not remotely concerned with reining in her sexuality, just because her two children walk past film posters of her wearing not much. 'I have to explain to them why I do it. But I never want to stop making the choices I make because of my children. That's important.'

Her children have different fathers. Nelly, 14, is by Daniel Auteuil, her co-star in Manon.

Johan, eight, is by music producer David Moreau. They both live nearby. A relationship with film producer Vincent Meyer was said to be coming to an end when he committed suicide just over a year ago. Naturally, she will not talk about this. All she will say is that when she is not working, she is 'a fulltime mother.

I do only very, very normal things in life.' She knows what it's like to be the daughter of a celebrity because her father, Guy Beart, was a famous balladeer. 'I was ashamed.

I just couldn't deal with it. In the street everybody was looking at him and asking him questions. I always felt how awful it is to be well-known. My daughter is very at ease with it. My son - perhaps it's something to do with the relationship between boys and their mothers - doesn't like it.

He said a lovely thing last time. "You don't have any shame." It's not true. I do have shame. But the more you try to hide, the more people see you.

The stars who go out with sunglasses and a hat, people say, "Who is this person behind the glasses and the hat? …

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