As a follow-up to last week's post on my favorite classic foreign actors, this week I present my 10 favorite classic foreign film actresses. As before, they're listed in alphabetical order. A signature performance for each actress is indicated by a *.
HARRIET ANDERSSON (b.1932)
Summer with Monika (1953) for the twenty year old and the film made her a star. She was the first of several actresses to gain international recognition for their work with Bergman, becoming part of his informal repertory company of film actors and for a time his lover. Her first films with Bergman gave her a screen image of uninhibited sexuality, but Andersson proved herself adept at playing many types, doing some of her best work for Bergman as a schizophrenic in Through a Glass Darkly (1961) and later as the dying eldest sister in Cries and Whispers (1972). She has made a few films in English, most recently Dogville (2003, dir. Lars von Trier). *Cries and Whispers (1972, dir. Ingmar Bergman). Also recommended: Summer with Monika (1953), Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), and Through a Glass Darkly (1961), all directed by Bergman. She also has a vivid cameo in the longer five-hour version of Bergman's last theatrical feature, Fanny and Alexander (1982).
STEPHANE AUDRAN (b. 1932)
Le Boucher (1970, dir. Claude Chabrol), as the new school mistress in a small French village being terrorized by a serial killer. Also recommended: The Good Time Girls (1960, dir. Claude Chabrol), Les Biches (1968, dir. Claude Chabrol), The Unfaithful Wife (1969, dir. Claude Chabrol), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972, dir. Luis Buñuel), Coup de Torchon (1981, dir. Bertrand Tavernier), Babette's Feast (1987, dir. Gabriel Axel).
CATHERINE DENEUVE (b. 1943)
SETSUKO HARA (b. 1920)
Late Spring, her first film with the director Yasujiro Ozu, in 1949. She went on to make six films altogether with Ozu, and even though she has worked with the top Japanese directors, it's for those six films that she's known in the West. In Japan she earned the nickname the Eternal Virgin because of the unmarried girls and young widows she typically played. The year after Ozu's death in 1962, she retired from films at the peak of her popularity in Japan and has lived a quiet and private life since then. *Late Spring (1949, dir. Yasujiro Ozu), as the young daughter so devoted to caring for her widowed father that she refuses to marry and make a life of her own. Also recommended: No Regrets for Our Youth (1946, dir. Akira Kurosawa), Early Summer (1951, dir. Yasujiro Ozu), Tokyo Story (1953, dir. Yasujiro Ozu), Late Autumn (1960, Yasujiro Ozu—a semi-remake of Late Spring, but here Hara plays the widowed parent of an overly devoted daughter).
ANNA MAGNANI (1908-1973)
The Golden Coach (1952, dir. Jean Renoir), Bellissima (1952, dir. Luchino Visconti), The Rose Tattoo (1955, dir. Daniel Mann), Mamma Roma (1962, dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini).
GIULIETTA MASINA (1921-1994)
JEANNE MOREAU (b. 1928)
The Lovers (1958, dir. Louis Malle), La Notte (1961, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni), Eva (1962, dir. Joseph Losey), Bay of Angels (1963, dir. Jacques Demy), Diary of a Chambermaid (1964, dir. Luis Buñuel), Viva Maria! (1965, dir. Louis Malle), The Bride Wore Black (1968, dir. François Truffaut).
MARIA SCHELL (1926-2005)
SIMONE SIGNORET (1921-1985)
Room at the Top (1959) in a role originally intended for Vivien Leigh. *Diabolique (1955, dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot), as the mistress of a cruel school master who joins his wife to seek revenge, in this classic French thriller directed by the man often called the French Hitchcock. Also recommended: La Ronde (1950, dir. Max Ophüls), Casque d'Or (1952, dir. Jacques Becker), Room at the Top (1959, dir. Jack Clayton), Ship of Fools (1965, dir. Stanley Kramer), Army of Shadows (1969, dir. Jean-Pierre Melville).
LIV ULLMANN (b. 1938)
Shame (1968), Cries and Whispers (1972), Scenes from a Marriage (1973), and Face to Face (1976). Also The Emigrants (1971, dir. Jan Troell) and The New Land (1972, dir. Jan Troell).
Does anyone have any personal favorites you think worthy of inclusion on a list like this? If so, please leave a comment and let me know.