Elsa Zylberstein

An actress of smart, striking beauty, with bright hazel eyes and angular features, the Parisian-born Elsa Zylberstein is known for portraying frank honesty and tender sexuality. She began appearing in movies in the late 1980s, soon making her first mark on international cinema as the lover of a famous post-Impressionist painter in the bleakly raw French biopic "Van Gogh" in 1991. Inspired by her fearless approach and majestic grace (she's studied classical dance since childhood), filmmakers cast her in further movie biographies such as "Modigliani," in which she again played the mistress of a tortured artist, and "Farinelli," a Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee about the ambisexual opera castrato Carlo Broschi. She remains a dependably passionate leading lady in conflicted or outright forbidden romances well into the 2000s. As such, she garnered particularly high praise for her performance as a Jewish Frenchwoman who falls for a Muslim co-worker in the gamely acted melodrama "Little Jerusalem." In '08, she starred opposite Kristin Scott Thomas in a somber tale of life after prison, "I've Loved You So Long," resulting in a Best Supporting Actress win at the venerated César Awards.