French screen icon, famously cast in her first major part in New Wave Alain Resnais’s first film, “Hiroshima mon amour,” legendary actor Emmanuelle Riva died in Paris yesterday. At age eighty-nine she has had a career that’s spanned five decades, starting with auteur filmmakers in the sixties all the way to her heartbreaking and understated portrayal of an Alzheimers victim in Michael Haneke’s 2013 “Amour,” a film in which she co-starred with with Jean-Louis Trintignant. The part earned her a well-deserved César, the French version of an Academy Award as well as a slew of other nominations and awards.
Emmanuelle Riva will be remembered not only for her remarkable roles in theater and film but for those few minutes when she appeared on stage to the standing ovation of luminaries of the entertainment world as she acknowledged the award, her well-known voice full of emotion as she graciously accepted the award, her luminous and perfectly recognizable features pleased as her peers’ salute, her red evening gown the statement of a star not shunning the limelight. This was a typical Riva performance, both subdued and standout. French cinema is in mourning today, for one of its most gifted and admired performers.