Déborah François

Déborah François

Déborah François at the 2014 Cabourg Film Festival
Born (1987-05-24) 24 May 1987
Rocourt, Liège, Belgium
Occupation Actress
Years active 2005–present
Known for L'Enfant

Déborah François (born 24 May 1987) is a Belgian actress.[1] She is best known for her starring role in The Child (2005), directed by the Dardenne brothers. In 2009, she won a César Award for Most Promising Actress for The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.[2]

Early life

Déborah François was born in Rocourt, Liège, a provincial town of Belgium. She is the daughter of a policeman and a social worker, and the second of their three children. She first came into contact with the theatrical world at age five when she played the role of Snow White in a local play. At school she later attended drama courses.


François grew up in Liège, which is in the French-speaking area of Belgium, and in 2005 she was discovered by two film producers (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) who gave her the principal female part in their film entitled L'Enfant – The Child. This kitchen sink drama, which takes place not far from François ’s home town in the run-down industrial town of Seraing, features a young couple, Bruno and Sonia. The couple live off social security benefits and the proceeds of Bruno's robberies – he is the head of a gang of thieves. When Sonia gives birth to a baby, Bruno cold-bloodedly sells their child to a dealer for a few thousand euros. This film was awarded the Palme d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

After her début as an actress she left school and plunged into her next film in Denis Dercourt's Thriller La Tourneuse de pages - The Page Turner in 2006 which brought her further acclaim. In the film she plays the cool and calculating butcher’s daughter Mélanie, who takes her revenge on the middle classes. Years before, she thought that her promising career as a pianist had been ruined by the carelessness of a famous pianist and member of a jury (played by Catherine Frot), so she now takes her revenge. Through a stroke of luck she manages to insert herself into the family unnoticed as a baby sitter and page turner. In this film François mimes the part of Mélanie, which won her special acclaim from the critics and for which she was nominated for a César Award in 2007.

In 2009, François won a César Award for her role as Fleur in The First Day of the Rest of Your Life. In that same year, she was also awarded the Romy-Schneider Prize and starred in the film My Queen Karo opposite Matthias Schoenaerts. In 2013, she was nominated for the Magritte Award for Best Actress for Les Tribulations d'une caissière. In 2014, she was nominated for Populaire and in 2015 she was nominated for Maestro.

Personal life

François lives in Paris, France, after growing up in Liège, Belgium, where she attended the same high school as fellow actress Marie Gillain, who also features in Les Femmes de l'Ombre (as Suzy Desprez, while she assumes the role of Gaëlle Lemenech).

François said after the film L'Enfant: "My life changed completely. Before 'L'Enfant,' I thought, 'I'm this lucky girl who is going to make a movie, but that's going to be the only movie I'll ever make.' I had never even been to Paris before, and all of a sudden I'm around the world with festivals. It was very different from high school."

Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, and Grace Kelly are three of her favorite classic actresses.


Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result
2006 Joseph Plateau Awards Joseph Plateau Award for Best Belgian Actress L'Enfant – The Child Won
César Awards César Award for Most Promising Actress L'Enfant – The Child Nominated
2007 César Awards César Award for Most Promising Actress The Page Turner Nominated
Lumiere Awards Lumiere Award for Most Promising Young Actress The Page Turner Nominated
SACD Awards Suzanne Bianchetti Award N/A Won
2009 Prix Romy Schneider Prix Romy Schneider N/A Won
César Awards César Award for Most Promising Actress The First Day of the Rest of Your Life Won
2013 Globes de Cristal Award Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actress Populaire Nominated
Magritte Awards Magritte Award for Best Actress Les Tribulations d'une caissière Nominated
2014 Magritte Award for Best Actress Populaire Nominated
2015 Magritte Award for Best Actress Maestro Nominated


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