Sylvie Testud

Sylvie Testud

Sylvie Testud in 2011
Born (1971-01-17) 17 January 1971
Lyon, Rhône, France
Occupation Actress, director, writer
Years active 1991–present

Sylvie Testud (born 17 January 1971) is a French actress, writer and film director, whose film career began in 1991. She won the César Award for Most Promising Actress for Murderous Maids (2000), the César Award for Best Actress for Fear and Trembling (2003) and the European Film Award for Best Actress for Lourdes (2009). Her other film roles include Beyond Silence (1996), La Vie en Rose (2007) and French Women (2014).

Life and career

She grew up in the La Croix-Rousse quarter of Lyon, France. This was an area with many Portuguese, Spanish and Italian immigrants. Her mother immigrated from Italy in the 1960s and married a Frenchman who left the family when Sylvie was just two years old.[1]

In 1985, when she was 14, she saw Charlotte Gainsbourg in her role of the complex young girl in L'Effrontée, a film directed by Claude Miller, identified with Gainsbourg, and so took drama classes in Lyon with the actor and director Christian Taponard. In 1989, she moved to Paris and spent three years at the Conservatoire (CNSAD). In the early and mid 1990s, she landed her first small roles in films like L'Histoire du garcon qui voulait qu'on l'embrasse, directed by Philippe Harel, and Love, etc., directed by Marion Vernoux. In 1997 she had great success in Germany with Caroline Link's Jenseits der Stille for which she learned German, sign language, and the clarinet. In 1998 she had her first major role in French cinema playing Béa in Thomas Vincent's Karnaval. In 2000 she starred in Chantal Akerman's La Captive, an adaptation of La Prisonièrre, the fifth part of Marcel Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. In 2001 she won the César Award for Most Promising Actress for her portrayal of Christine Papin, one of the Papin sisters, in Les Blessures assassines (English title: Murderous Maids), The story concerned a young servant woman found guilty of the murder, with her sister's help, of her employer's wife and daughter; it had made sensational headlines in France in 1933.

In 2003, she published the autobiographical book Il n'y a pas beaucoup d'étoiles ce soir, with anecdotes of her day-to-day life as an actress. The French edition featured a cover designed by her sister Ghislaine.

One of her most noted performances was as the star of the film Stupeur et tremblements, adapted from the novel by Amélie Nothomb, for which she was awarded a César and a Lumières Award for Best Actress in 2004. She plays a woman struggling with the difference in culture between the Japanese business world and the western, Belgian world, from which she comes. In 2005 or 2006 she returned to her native Lyon (to the Théâtre de la Croix Rousse), where she played the rôle of Edith in Philippe Faure's adaptation of Stefan Zweig's La Pitié dangereuse. She starred in 2007's two-time Academy Award-winning film La Vie en Rose, as Momone, Edith Piaf's best friend. In the 2008 film Sagan, she portrayed the writer Françoise Sagan, earning unanimous praise for her hauntingly accurate portrayal and for which she was again nominated for the César for best actress.

She was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre national du Mérite in March 2009.[2]

She has a son, Ruben, born on 15 February 2005, and a daughter Esther, born in January 2011.[3]

In 2012, she participated in Rendez-vous en terre inconnue.



Testud at the César Awards 2008.
Year Title Role Director Notes
1991 La violoniste Yves Forgeat Short
1993 Couples et amants The young girl John Lvoff
1994 L'histoire du garçon qui voulait qu'on l'embrassee Girl at party offering food Philippe Harel
Éternelles Nathalie Erick Zonca Short
Maries Lied: Ich war, ich weiß nicht wo Marie Niko von Glasow
1995 Those Were the Days Sylvie Didier Haudepin
Le serment d'Hippocrate Jean-Louis Bertuccelli TV Movie
Le nid tombé de l'oiseau Laurence Alain Schwartzstein TV Movie
Lettre ouverte à Lili Virginie Jean-Luc Trotignon TV Movie
Délit mineur Lili Olivier Panchot Short
1996 Beyond Silence Lara Caroline Link German Film Awards – Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Love, etc. Marion Vernoux
1997 Flammen im Paradies Esther Markus Imhoof
1998 The Misadventures of Margaret The young nun Brian Skeet
Sentimental Education Julia C.S. Leigh
1999 Karnaval Béa Thomas Vincent Acteurs à l'Écran – Best Actress (Prix Michel Simon)
Nominated – César Award for Most Promising Actress
Pünktchen und Anton Laurence Caroline Link (2)
In Heaven Valeska Michael Bindlechner
Marée haute Caroline Champetier Short
Nominated – Acteurs à l'Écran – Best Actress (Prix Musidora)
Les pierres qui tombent du ciel Isabelle Ponnet Short
2000 La Captive Ariane Chantal Akerman Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actress
Drug Scenes Lucie Guillaume Nicloux TV Series (1 Episode : "Lucie")
Sade Renée de Sade Benoît Jacquot
Murderous Maids Christine Papin Jean-Pierre Denis César Award for Most Promising Actress
Mons International Festival of Love Films – Best Actress
Faux contact Laurence Eric Jameux Short
La Chambre obscure Azalaïs Marie-Christine Questerbert
2001 I'm Going Home Ariel Manoel de Oliveira
The Château Isabelle Jesse Peretz
Julies Geist Julia Bettina Wilhelm
Ce qui compte pour Mathilde Mathilde Stéphanie Murat Short
2002 Everyman's Feast Sophie Fritz Lehner
A Loving Father Virginia Jacob Berger
Un moment de bonheur The teacher Antoine Santana
Les femmes... ou les enfants d'abord... Virginie Manuel Poirier
Tangos volés Alice / Paula Eduardo de Gregorio
Vivre me tue Myriam Jean-Pierre Sinapi
2003 Fear and Trembling Amélie Alain Corneau César Award for Best Actress
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – Best Actress
Lumières Award for Best Actress
Étoiles d'Or – Best Actress
Sole Sisters Tina Pierre Jolivet
Dédales Claude René Manzor
Der gläserne Blick Das Mädchen Markus Heltschl
2004 Tomorrow We Move Charlotte Chantal Akerman (2)
Tout pour l'oseille Prune Bertrand Van Effenterre
Cause toujours! Léa Jeanne Labrune
Victoire Victoire Stéphanie Murat (2)
2005 Words in Blue Clara Alain Corneau (2)
La vie est à nous ! Louise Delhomme Gérard Krawczyk
2006 L'héritage Patricia Géla Babluani
Temur Babluani
2007 La Vie en rose Simone Berteaut (Mômone) Olivier Dahan Nominated – César Award for Best Supporting Actress
La France Camille Serge Bozon
Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher Joan of Arc Don Kent TV Movie
Mange, ceci est mon corps Madame Michelange Quay
Ce que mes yeux ont vu Lucie Audibert Laurent de Bartillat Nominated – Lumières Award for Best Actress (2)
2008 Sagan Françoise Sagan Diane Kurys Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actress
Nominated – César Award for Best Actress (2)
L'idiot Daria Alexeïevna Pierre Léon
Marguerite ou La vie tranquille Marguerite Duras Stéphanie Murat (3) Short
2009 Lucky Luke Calamity Jane James Huth
Le Bonheur de Pierre Catherine Martin Robert Ménard
Vengeance Irène Thompson Johnnie To
Lourdes Christine Jessica Hausner European Film Award for Best Actress
Gamines Sybille (adult) Éléonore Faucher
Je ne dis pas non Adèle Iliana Lolitch
Louise Michel Louise Michel Sólveig Anspach
2010 The Round Up Bella Zygler Roselyne Bosch
Mumu Ms. Mulard Joël Séria
Biographie sans Antoinette Roberto Maria Grassi TV Movie
Sentiments provisoires Hélène TV Movie
2011 Rebellion Chantal Legorjus Mathieu Kassovitz
Avant l'aube Sylvie Poncet Raphaël Jacoulot
Le grand restaurant II The client who meets Hitler's lookalike Gérard Pullicino TV Movie
2012 The Scapegoat Bela Charles Sturridge
Max Nina Stéphanie Murat (4)
Les mains de Roxana Roxana Orlac Philippe Setbon TV Movie
2013 Pour une femme Anne Diane Kurys (2)
Une chanson pour ma mère Sylvie Joel Franka
Je m'appelle Hmmm... Céline's mother agnès b.
Les déferlantes Louise Éléonore Faucher (2) TV Movie
À votre bon coeur Mesdames Lolita Jean-Pierre Mocky
2014 96 hours Marion Reynaud Frédéric Schoendoerffer
24 Days Brigitte Farell Alexandre Arcady
Sous les jupes des filles Sam Audrey Dana
Ceux qui dansent sur la tête Catherine Magaly Richard-Serrano TV Movie
Papa Was Not a Rolling Stone Nadiège Sylvie Ohayon
Two Women Elisavetta Bogdanovna Vera Glagoleva
Fais pas ci, fais pas ça Sylviane Chinsky Pascal Chaumeil TV Series (1 Episode)
2015 Im Spinnwebhaus Sabine Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt
Au plus près du Soleil Sophie Picard Yves Angelo
Le talent de mes amis Stéphane Brunge Alex Lutz
2016 Arrête ton cinéma Sybille Teyssier Diane Kurys
Les Visiteurs: La Révolution Charlotte Robespierre Jean-Marie Poiré


Year Title Notes
1998 Je veux descendre Short
2012 Another Woman's Life



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