23 May 1987, Liège, Belgium
While still at school in her Belgian hometown, 16-year-old François attended an open casting held by the Dardenne brothers. She was chosen ahead of 150 other hopefuls in the role of a teenage mother, whose new baby is sold by her boyfriend, and the film itself, L’Enfant (The Child), went on to win the Palme D’Or at Cannes. François then impressed in the revenge thriller The Page Turner, playing a young woman who coolly insinuates herself into the household of a female concert pianist. She also starred in the WW2 Resistance drama Female Agents, alongside Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu and Marie Gillain.
Two films featuring François are being released in Britain in quick succession. Firstly there’s The First Day of the Rest of Your Life, a French family saga, in which she plays a Parisian adolescent daughter rebelling against her mother. And Unmade Beds, the tender tale of two lost souls adrift in East London’s bohemian scene.
What she says about The First Day of the Rest of My Life
‘It was a really big success in France in the summer of 2008, and it was popular across different generations. People were able to identify with the family it portrayed. The tagline was “Cette famille est la votre”, which means “This family is yours”.’
On Unmade Beds
‘Before making Unmade Beds, I’d only come to London for a few days at a time. It was great to be able to spend a month there working on the film and the Argentinean director Alexis Dos Santos took us to lots of gigs and bars. I got a real sense of the atmosphere of the city.’
On her career choices
‘After The Page Turner I had lots of requests to play parts that were very similar to Melanie from that film. But I’m somebody who quickly gets bored in my life and to me the whole reason for being an actor is to choose different roles, which explore different aspects of myself.’
François attended the same high school in Liège as fellow actress Marie Gillain.
The First Day of the Rest of My Life is on selected release from Fri 4 Dec, see review. Unmade Beds is on selected release from Fri 11 Dec, see review.