(1950- )
   Actress. Born Sylvette Herry, Miou-Miou (the stage name was given to her by French comedian Coluche) began her career in the early 1970s. She had bit parts in films such as Georges Lautner's Quelques messieurs trop tranquilles (1973), Gérard Pirès's Elle court, elle court la banlieue (1973), and Gérard Oury's Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973), before being cast in Bertrand Blier's Les Valseuses (1974). The film became a French classic, and Miou-Miou instantly became a star. She made more than sixteen films in the 1970s alone, including Lautner's Pas de problème! (1975) and On aura tout vu (1976), Jean-Pierre Blanc's D'amour et d'eau fraîche (1976), Alain Tanner's Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l'an 2000 (1976), and Claude Miller's Dîtes-lui que je l'aime (1977), in which she played opposite Gérard Depardieu, her costar in Les Valseuses. In 1979, she appeared in La Dérobade, a film for which she won a César for Best Actress.
   Miou-Miou continued to be a star in the 1980s. She appeared in a number of films, including Yves Boisset's La Femme flic (1980) and Canicule (1984), Lautner's Est-ce bien raisonnable? (1981) and Attention! Une femme peut en cacher une autre (1983), Michel Drach's Guy de Maupassant (1982), Bertrand Blier's Tenue de soirée (1986), and Michel Deville's La Lectrice (1988). In 1983, she gave what was considered one of her best performances in Diane Kurys's semi-autobiographical film, Coup de foudre. This gained her a great deal of international attention, as the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. She became known as an actress well suited to play atypical women, frail and helpless on the surface, yet who are capable of uncommon strength. Her 1988 performance in La Lectrice is a case in point.
   In the 1990s, Miou-Miou continued to appear regularly in film. She had a number of acclaimed roles, most notably in Louis Malle's Milou en mai (1990), Patrice Leconte's Tango (1993), Claude Berri's epic version of Émile Zola's Germinal (1993), and Anne Fontaine's Nettoyage à sec (1997), a role written for her. The decade also marked something of a slowdown in her film career, as she redirected her energies toward political activism. She has continued to act but reduced her schedule from the four to five films per year she once did. Since 2000, she has appeared in several films, including Claude Mouriéras's Tout va bien, on s'en va (2000), Dominique Cabrera's Folle embellie (2004), and Berri's L'Un reste, l'autre part (2005). Her most recent films are Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep (2006), Gérald Hustache Mathieu's Avril (2006), and Thierry Klifa's Le Héros de la famille (2006). Director Anne Fontaine once called Miou-Miou "the most popular actress of her generation." Fontaine's characterization is for the most part true, since, even in semiretirement, Miou-Miou remains one of the most widely recognized of French screen actresses.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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