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"Rarely has an actress been so beautiful and so moving. Rarely has a star been so blessed by the gods and so battered by fate, or a woman been so brilliant and yet so tormented." This is how Jean-Pierre Lavoignat, curator of the exhibition, describes Romy Schneider, the Austrian-born German actress who was the darling of French cinema and who is now the subject of this exhibition, timed to commemorate the 30th anniversary of her death.
Until February 22nd, the Espace Landowski, a cultural centre in the wealthy Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, is hosting this tribute to Romy Schneider. Organised chronologically, the exhibition is divided into a number of themed areas that reveal with passion the personal and professional life of the actress. The display includes stunning images of the woman described as "Tormented, pure, violent, proud..." by the award-winning writer and director Claude Sautet, who worked with Schneider on five films.
There are documents, photos and original posters, contemporary magazine coverage, jewellery, awards and objects that belonged to the actress. Some of exhibition items have never been seen before and include souvenirs amassed over the years by colleagues and fans of one of France's best-loved actresses, on display now alongside unpublished letters, scripts, costumes, theatre programmes and other collector's pieces.
In her 30-year career, she worked with directors including Richard Harris, Orson Welles and Terence Young, and alongside actors as diverse as Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Rod Steiger and Harvey Keitel, but for many, Romy Schneider will always be associated with the romance and big-screen dazzle of Sissi – Elizabeth, Empress of Austria – a character she played on a number of occasions.
This tribute exhibition, open until February 22nd, is not simply a journey back in time to an earlier age of glamour: it is, above all, a chance to draw closer to the award-winning actress whose film career began at age 15, when she acted alongside her mother in the German film When the white lilacs bloom again.
Romy Schneider Exhibition
Espace Landowski, Boulogne-Billancourt
Until February 22, 2012