Déborah François (French pronunciation: [debɔʁa fʁɑ̃swa]; born 24 May 1987) is a Belgian actress. She is best known for her starring role in the Palme d'Or-winning film, 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.
Déborah François at the 2014 Cabourg Film Festival
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. She then starred in the 2010 film Mes chères études, (later re-titled Student Services), about a university student who turns to prostitution to pay bills. 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.
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."
- 2005 : L'Enfant – The Child
- 2006 : La Tourneuse de pages - The Page Turner
- 2007 : Les Fourmis rouges – Red Ants
- 2007 : L'Été indien
- 2008 : Les Femmes de l'ombre - Female Agents
- 2008 : Le Premier Jour du reste de ta vie - The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
- 2009 : London Nights - Unmade Beds
- 2009 : Fais-moi plaisir!
- 2009 : My Queen Karo
- 2010 : Memories Corner
- 2010 : Mes chères études
- 2011 : Le Moine - The Monk
- 2011 : Les Tribulations d'une caissière
- 2012 : Populaire
- 2013 : Un beau dimanche
- 2013 : C'est pas de l'amour
- 2014 : Maestro
- 2015 : J'ai épousé un inconnu
- 2016 : Fleur de tonnerre
- 2016 : Ma famille t'adore déjà
- 2016 : Cézanne and I
- 2017 : Chacun sa vie et son intime conviction
- 2019: Never Grow Old
Awards and nominations
|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|
- Bion, Lucille (19 October 2017). "New Wave #4 : Déborah François, caméléon belge". Kombini (in French).
- "Déborah François". Premiere (in French). Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "Déborah François, César 2009 du Meilleur Espoir Féminin pour Le premier jour du reste de ta vie". Vimeo.com. Archived from the original on 23 February 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- "Déborah François, no longer in the shadows". Focus on Belgium. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "The New Ingenue: Actress Déborah François". WWD.com. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "Llega a cartelera la película francesa La Mecanógrafa". El País (in Spanish). 24 June 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
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