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VENUS BEAUTY INSTITUTE
Cast: Nathalie Baye, Bulle Ogier, Samuel Le Bihan, Jacques Bonnaffe, Mathilde Seigner, Audrey Tautou, Robert Hossein, Edith Scob, Marie Riviere, Helene Fillieres, Brigitte Rouan, Elli Medeiros, Claire Nebout
Director: Tonie Marshall
UK: 105 mins
USA Release Date: 27 October 2000 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 18 June 1999
With "Venus Beauty Institute," French writer / director Tonie Marshall takes us into the world of beauty and self image and into the lives of four strong, smart women who make their living practicing beauty at a Parisian spa.
Angele, as played by one of France's leading actresses, Nathalie Baye, is a ravishing, sexy woman in her early 40s whose guilt and anguish over having caused permanent harm to a loved one is offset by a hedonistic and reckless series of one-night stands. Marie, played by ingenue Audrey Tautou, is an exceptionally beautiful woman whose guileless innocence brings happiness to an enigmatic widower. Samantha, a cherubic, defiant young flirt who substitutes sexuality for companionship, is played by Mathilde Seigner (Emmanuelle's sister). And the spa's confident matriarch Nadine (Bulle Ogier) who, at some earlier time in her life, might have been just like Samantha, is lonely but ambitious, talented but without the self-confidence to be successful.
"Venus Beauty Institute" recently swept all of this year's major Cesar Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Young Actress. But the film is also winning awards here in the States, most notably at the 2000 Seattle International Film Festival where Nathalie Baye was honored with the award for Best Actress.