Saturday, 28 January 2017


Cinema will never be the same, as we mourn the death of one of its defining figures. Beloved French poet and actor Emmanuelle Riva died yesterday, the 27th of January, aged 89. This exceptional talent had developed a deserved reputation as one of the world's most gifted and incisive actors over a career spanning 60 years on screen, and whose contribution to film will forever be remembered in her magnificent catalogue of performances. In only her first credited role on film, she delivered one of the finest cases of screen acting of all time in Alain Resnais' landmark Hiroshima, Mon Amour. It was the role that made Riva a star, though she persevered in her aim to establish herself as an actor of integrity and ability before all else in the oncoming years, accepting roles to best befit her skills, rather than opportunities to increase her fame. Riva devoted herself to her craft, refusing to learn nor to perform in English, and featuring in a vast array of titles whose names have long since faded from the broad cultural lexicon, even in France. And yet what a dazzling array it is, including such films as Kapo, Therese Desqueyroux, Three Colours: Blue and Amour, for which she was nominated for an Oscar. That roles also brought Riva a BAFTA, a Cesar, and awards from the London Critics' Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics; she also earned the Volpi Cup at the 1962 Venice Film Festival by unanimous decision for Therese Desqueyroux. What sad news to report this morning. Few actors could conceivably be as missed as Riva.