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Bujold, Geneviève

BUJOLD, Geneviève



Nationality: Canadian. Born: Montreal, 1 July 1942. Education: Studied at a convent and at the Quebec Conservatory of Drama. Family: Married the director Paul Almond, 1967 (divorced 1973), sons: Matthew and Emmanuel. Career: 1962—joined Théâtre du Gesù's production of The Barber of Seville; 1963—became member of Le Théâtre du Rideau Vert; 1963–64—acted in some 60 TV and radio shows; 1964—first role in Canadian-French co-production La Fleur de l'age; 1965—toured Europe and the Soviet Union with Rideau Vert company; 1966—while in Paris, chosen by Alain Resnais to play opposite Yves Montand in Le Guerre est finie; on return to Canada appeared in stage and film productions directed by husband Paul Almond; 1969—international fame after starring role in Anne of the Thousand Days.Awards: Best Actress, Canadian Film Awards, for Isabel, 1968; Best Actress, Canadian Film Awards, for Acte de coeur, 1970; Best Actress Award, LA Film Critics, 1988. Address: c/o Trauber and Flynn, 2029 Century Park East, Suite 300, Los Angeles, CA 90027, U.S.A.


Films as Actress:

1963

Amantia Pestilens (Bonnière)

1964

"Geneviève" ep. of La Fleur de l'age (Les Adolescents; The Adolescents) (Brault) (as Geneviève)

1966

La Guerre est finie (The War Is Over) (Resnais) (as Nadine Sallanches); Le Roi de coeur (King of Hearts) (de Broca) (as Coquelicot)

1967

Le Velour (The Thief of Paris) (Malle) (as Charlotte); Entre la mer et l'eau douce (Brault)

1968

Isabel (Almond) (title role)

1969

Anne of the Thousand Days (Jarrott) (as Anne Boleyn)

1970

Acte du coeur (Act of the Heart) (Almond) (as Martha Hayes); Marie-Christine (short)

1971

The Trojan Women (Cacoyannis) (as Cassandra)

1972

Journey (Almond) (as Saguenay)

1973

Kamouraska (Jutra) (as Elisabeth)

1974

Earthquake (Robson) (as Denise)

1975

L'Incorrigible (The Incorrigible) (de Broca) (as Marie-Charlotte)

1976

Swashbuckler (The Scarlet Buccaneer) (Goldstone) (as Janet Barnet); Obsession (De Palma) (as Elizabeth Courtland); Alex and the Gypsy (Love and Other Crimes) (Korty) (as Maritza)

1977

Un Autre Homme, une autre chance (Another Man, Another Chance) (Lelouch) (as Jeanne Leroy)

1978

Coma (Crichton) (as Dr. Susan Wheeler); Mistress of Paradise (Medal—for TV) (as Elizabeth Beaufort)

1979

Murder by Decree (Clark) (as Annie Crook); Final Assignment (Almond) (as Nicole Thomson)

1980

The Last Flight of Noah's Ark (Jarrott) (as Bernadette Laffeur)

1982

Monsignor (Perry) (as Clara)

1984

Tightrope (Tuggle) (as Beryl Thibodeaux); Choose Me (Rudolph) (as Dr. Nancy Love)

1985

Trouble in Mind (Rudolph) (as Wanda)

1988

Dead Ringers (Cronenberg) (as Claire Niveau); The Moderns (Rudolph) (as Libby Valentin)

1989

Les Noces de papier (A Paper Wedding) (Brault—for TV) (as Claire); Secret Places of the Heart (Bridges); Red Earth, White Earth (Greene—for TV) (as Madeline)

1990

False Identity (Keach) (as Rachel Roux); Une Certaine Charme (Aghian); And the Dance Goes On (Almond) (as Rick and James's mother)

1991

Rue du Bac (as Marie Aubriac)

1992

Oh, What a Night (Till) (as Eva)

1993

Spending Time with Family (Barron); An Ambush of Ghosts (Lewis) (as Irene Betts)

1994

Mon Ami Max (My Friend Max) (as Marie-Alexandrine Brabant)

1995

The Adventures of Pinocchio (Barron) (as Leona)

1997

The House of Yes (Mark Waters) (as Mrs. Pascal)

1998

You Can Thank Me Later (Dotan) (as Joselle); Last Night (McKellar) (as Mrs. Carlton)

1999

Eye of the Beholder (Elliott) (as Dr. Brault)

2000

The Bookfair Murders (Panzer—for TV) (as Margaret)

2001

Sex and a Girl (Rosenberg)

Publications


By BUJOLD: articles—

Interview by M. Euvrard, in Cinéma Québec (Montreal), March-April 1973.

"Kamouraska: Geneviève Bujold," interview by Kiss/Koler and A. Ibrányi-Kiss, in Cinema Canada (Montreal), April-May 1973.

Interview with Danièle Parra, in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), April 1991.


On BUJOLD: articles—

"Geneviève Bujold: The Flame Within," in Time (New York), 28 September 1970.

Almond, Paul, "Geneviève Bujold: In Transition," in Close-Ups: The Movie Star Book, edited by Danny Peary, New York, 1978.

Ciné Revue (Paris), 12 June 1980.

Schupp, P., "Geneviève Bujold: l'indépendance et la volonté," in Séquences (Montreal), October 1987.

Iskusstvo Kino (Moscow), May 1990.

Stars (Mariembourg), March 1990.


* * *

Surely few film actresses so distinguished as Geneviève Bujold have appeared in so few distinguished films. After a strong beginning in supporting roles as the provocative, lissome admirer of Yves Montand in Alain Resnais's La Guerre est finie and the wistfully fey inmate in Philippe de Broca's King of Hearts, the young Quebecoise became a star in American films of the Seventies, a quirky character actress in the Eighties, and only an occasional player, mainly in Canadian films, in recent years.

American audiences were introduced to Bujold as a slight-of-build but self-contained, fiercely determined Anne Boleyn, a perfect foil to Richard Burton's extravagant Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days. Three years later she met the challenge of Greek tragedy on film, as Cassandra in Michael Cacoyannis's The Trojan Women, holding her own against Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, and Irene Papas. Many must have felt, with Pauline Kael, that "this performance is a leap in her career; her ambitiousness in tackling a role like this suggests prodigies ahead."

As it turned out, most of her American films in the next 10 years were to be glossy, unimaginative genre exercises: Earthquake, Swashbuckler, Monsignor, and Coma (in which she at least brought an air of authority to her starring role as a doctor in a Michael Crichton thriller). In between, there were some Canadian films directed by her husband, Paul Almond—Isabel, Acte du coeur, Journey, Final Assignment—and a few offbeat projects such as John Korty's Alex and the Gypsy and Claude Lelouch's underrated Another Man, Another Chance. Of her English-language starring roles, perhaps Brian De Palma's Obsession used her best, not least for her haunting (and distinctly French) facial features, a combination of soft and firm qualities, upon which the male lead is fixated. The role calls for Bujold to project a remote yet intense and (to the hero) seemingly attainable sensuality; beyond that, a kindly, intelligent concern (both feigned and real, as it turns out); while underneath she is a determined avenger, and underneath that, a wounded, unloved child pleading for help.

Bujold brings to most of her best roles several of these qualities: both toughness and vulnerability (a copywriter's hackneyed pairing, but truly pertinent here), and both an air of poised, experienced, unexaggerated sensuality and a convent-girl or hurt-child innocence. These qualities have worked together most perfectly perhaps in a 1974 television production of Jean Anouilh's Antigone, an adaptation of Sophocles that retains the plot but uses deliberately anachronistic modern speech. The force and conviction of Bujold's performance eliminate potentially ludicrous clashes of style and lapses into sentimentality, while keeping the pride and pathos.

Following good notices for her role as a rape-victim therapist in another thriller, Tightrope, Bujold appeared in some extremely varied and distinctive character parts, notably in a trio of films by Alan Rudolph and one by David Cronenberg. Choose Me, the first of the Rudolph films, provided her a most unusual deadpan comic role, as a radio "Love Doctor" who gives brilliant advice to her listeners but is a psychological mess outside the studio. Her first scene, establishing her cool, self-assured radio persona, using her deep voice to superb effect, is contrasted later by her tour-de-force dialogue with Keith Carradine, in which, under a false name, she admiringly describes the radio star with a sort of daffy abandon, totally absorbed in herself. In Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, playing a jaded actress, she manages to make her character neither ludicrous nor villainous—a considerable achievement, since the plot calls for her to be having an affair with twin brothers without knowing it, and later, after a denunciation and reconciliation, carelessly leading one of them into drug addiction.

Bujold's screen presence is so strong that she can be a major part of the success of a film in which she has only one scene. Such is the case in the Sherlock Holmes drama Murder by Decree, in which she plays the pivotal role of a madwoman who not only reveals the information necessary for Holmes to solve the case but who is so vitally appealing that Holmes makes an emotional commitment to her that carries him to a climatic denunciation.

In recent years Bujold appears to have pursued a private life more than a film career, though she was briefly notorious for abandoning her role as the captain in the Star Trek: Voyager television series. She has continued to work mainly in Canadian productions, and occasionally in such American independent films as An Ambush of Ghosts, where she is a woman driven mad by guilt, and The House of Yes (yet another madwoman, but this one dryly arch), receiving excellent notices as always but little public renown.

—Joseph Milicia

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