Isabelle received her second Oscar nomination to date for playing a tortured sculptor, Camille Claudel in the very weird movie, Camille Claudel. I'm quite sure that Adjani's nomination itself was a surprise (it's always surprising unfortunately when a foreign language role is nominated) and she was the fifth in the final voting. I think her character was unlikeable and the movie itself was quite artsy for the Academy members to embrace it as they should.
Camille Claudel is a great movie. I expected it to be boring, slow and forced, but it was surprisingly impressed. I may even say that it was the best movie of the Best Actress nominees that year. I know it's very weird and over-the-top, but there are such strong and unforgettable scenes in it. You can easily see that it was directed by a cinematographist. There are beautiful pictures in it. I think even if I turned the volumed off and watched only the images, I would have been equally impressed. Gerard Depardieu gives an excellent and strong performance as Rodin.
Isabelle Adjani is however so damn difficult to rate. Sometimes she is out of place, but occasionally she is so unbelievably storng that if she kept that strength up, she so would have beaten all the other nominees that year. But since her work here is very uneven, it did not happen and yet I just cannot say anything bad about her.
In the beginning, her character is not particularly, but there is something about her unique and strange presence after a while because of which I was NOT able to take my eyes off her. I have to admit though that it is not the best part of it. There was something missing which was there later, but there the lack of this thing was a bit distracting and therefore Adjani was not really strong.
Isabelle Adjani injected so much passion into this performance and she made such an effort, that it is unbelievable. However, it was not forced (OK, maybe sometimes I felt it). Camille is a stubborn, headstrong woman who lives for only one thing, her art. And Adjani perfectly shows how much this means for Camille. Camille has this one thing at the centre of her life, and everything is just additional, including her love affair with Rodin, which is first pure, passionate love and eventually burning hatred.
Adjani also shows the intimate relationship and tender love (not incest!) between Camille and her brother, Paul, who is probably the only true supporter of Camille until the very end. When he leaves for America and Isabelle runs after him, Adjani shows so many emotions, that she almost broke my heart. That is one of those brutally great moments, which made her performance so much better.
Adjani sometimes exaggerated the insanity of Claudel, her big screaming in front of the house of Rodin is a bit too much, and yet in an odd way it works somehow. We do not know Claudel’s personality, but this over-the-topness of Adjani matches it. Adjani has the secret, which makes this very uneven performance a great one.
Another strong scene comes when she is lying in the water, drunk, and broken down. We feel her suffering so much, it just becomes obvious. It was probably my favorite sequence of the movie and it is ingrained in my memory.
In the end, when she is sent to an asylum and there is so much pain right there. Her voiceover is just heartbreaking: she uses her voice so well to express how much the world is falling apart for this tragic character. I really said WOW.
After all, I can say that I saw a very confusing and uneven, but strangely effective, which might have weaknesses, but there are such electrifying, brilliant and unforgettable scenes, that you forget your complaints while watching them. It is not a perfect job, but there is some greatness in it. Good work.
It is very difficult to say anything about this performance properly.
So what do you think? I can give NO official predictions now, but I am interested in your thoughts. The Final Conclusion comes in two hours.