Cyrano De Bergerac (1990)
Ludivine Sagnier began acting at the tender age of 10 in her native France. She first appeared in Les Maris, Les Femmes, Les Amants , and appeared in two further efforts before landing her first mainstream role.
Cyrano De Bergerac was based on the 1989 play of the same name, though it's probably best known to English-speakers as the inspiration behind Steve Martin's Roxanne . Gérard Depardieu sports a prosthetic enhancement atop his own considerable facial appendage to play the military man whose ugly visage belies his poetic soul.
Joie de vivre? Sagnier barely gets a look in here, and those familiar with the Steve Martin version might be in for a shock when this epic takes a turn for the glum.
Boys On The Beach (1999)
Throughout the '90s, Sagnier continually plugged away in a succession of French TV movies, honing her craft in oddities that have since evaporated in the mists of time.
She made her first 'adult' movie appearance in this bizarre lad-com, playing the intriguingly-named Dance Girl 1. Hardly challenging stuff, but it was a start at least, ensuring she got her foot on the bottom rung of the movie ladder.
Joie de vivre? Again, we reiterate: her character was called Dance Girl 1. She was made of joie de vivre.
Her next movie appearance was in something altogether more serious. This change of pace would become a defining factor of Sagnier's future career, as she flits between froth and serious stuff with ease.
Being a biopic of the 17th-century Dutch painter, this was another period piece for Sagnier (after Cyrano De Bergerac ). She may have had a small role, but she at least got to share a cast-list with French great Jean Rochefort, and the film enjoyed a relatively wide release.
Joie de vivre? These artist-biopics are always maudlin affairs.
Les Enfants Du Sicle (1999)
Sagnier followed Rembrandt with a supporting role in another biopic. This one focussed on literary icons: groundbreaking novelist George Sand (Juliet Binoche) and poet Alfred de Musset (Benoît Magimel).
Binoche's face is as evocative as ever as the male-pseudonym sporting writer, and Magimel is all foppish curls and rakish sideburns-and-'tache combo as her lover. The pair went on to have a relationship in real-life (which produced a child), and their torrid affair hogs most of the screen time.
Joie de vivre? This is a love affair of the tortured variety...
La Banquise (2000)
While Sagnier was gradually piecing together a movie career, she didn't turn her back on TV or short films. Prior to this, she starred in short Anna's Trip .
In La Banquise , she has a small support role. The TV movie focusses on the story of headstrong Clémence (Clémentine Célarié), and her struggles from the '30s right through WW2.
Joie de vivre? Sagnier seemed to be sticking to mostly serious stuff at this point.
Water Drops On Burning Rocks (2000)
A significant movie for Sagnier, this marked her first work with frequent collaborator François Ozon, with whom she has had some of her most notable roles. It was also possible her highest profile role to date, and began drawing her to mainstream attention.
The copious nudity also hinted at things to come in Sagnier's career, as she plays a girl seduced by her ex-boyfriend's older male lover. Ozon shows a keen eye for dramatising sexuality and relationships, in a stagey but engaging drama.
Joie de vivre? She certainly seems open-minded.
Great Idea (2000)
Going under the French moniker Bon Plan , this coming of age travel tale sees a bunch of early-twentysomethings (three girls, two blokes) Interrail-ing it throughout Europe. So it's basically like a more realistic take on Eurotrip…
Sagnier is one of the gang on the continental journey, in a role that showcases her natural exuberance to the full. She goes clubbing with bouncy glee, sports a tattoo, and can chat up guys in a multitude of languages.
Joie de vivre? Her character, Clémentine, is never too far away from the core of the party.
Children's Play (2001)
Sagnier pulled a tonal gear-shift for her next movie role, appearing in this eerie thriller. She plays the nanny of a well-to-do Parisian family, who start to suspect that their children may be possessed by a sinister presence.
It may remind you of slightly better 'haunted kid' spookers (namely Jack Clayton's The Innocents ), but there's enough atmosphere here to sustain your interest for the brisk running time.
Joie de vivre? This looks at life through darker shades.
Ma Femme Est Une Actrice (2001)
Back to perkier material here, in a neatly-premised romcom. Yvan Attal directs and stars as 'Yvan', a man who falls in love with a beautiful, in-demand moviestar named Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg - Attal's real-life partner).
It's an attention-worthy idea, made all the more absorbing with the knowledge of the pair's off-screen antics. Terence Stamp adds heft to the cast as a seductive Brit actor, but, given little to do, Sagnier is reduced to little more than set dressing.
Joie de vivre? It's nothing if not a bit of lighthearted fun.
8 Women (2002)
Sagnier reunited with director François Ozon for an altogether frothier offering than their previous affair. The campy, candy-coloured murder-mystery is littered with musical numbers, and boasts a cast that reads like a rundown of the finest French actresses of several generations. It's adapted from a stageplay, and it shows, but it's stylish enough to get away with it.
As Catherine, the youngest of the gaggle of women, Sagnier (who was 23 at the time) is exceptionally fresh and youthful, and later proves to be key to unravelling the convoluted plot.
Joie de vivre? 8 Women looks at life and death through the same colourful gaze.
Marie Marmaile (2002)
Even as her film career was beginning to take off ( 8 Women was a sizeable hit), Sagnier didn't ignore TV work. She also remained extremely prolific, adding to a filmography that makes for exhausting reading.
She had graduated to the lead here, playing Marie, a woman who takes in a young boy during the German occupation of France in World War 2.
Joie de vivre? It deals with some of the darkest days in recent history, but does so with an underlying humanity.
Still grafting away, Sagnier played the stepdaughter of the legendary French Emperor in this TV miniseries. Cyrano De Bergerac lead Gérard Depardieu also found time for a supporting role, though Christian Clavier played the man himself.
Sagnier managed to cram her role in between starring in short Les Frères Hélias and appearing in an episode of TV series Navarro .
Joie de vivre? Regardless of what characters she was playing, Sagnier certainly seemed to be enjoying working.
La Lgende De Parva (2003)
Sagnier took a brief respite from appearing in movies in person to lend her voice to this animated French movie, which was based on a comic book.
The bizarre plot took in kids' film staples including talking animals, brave swashbuckling royals and elaborate dungeons, but it failed to get a release this side of the Channel.
Joie de vivre? This was brightly coloured and sprightly.
Small Cuts (2003)
Sagnier found herself increasingly being cast among the top brass of French acting. Here she plays the much younger girlfriend of Communist journo Bruno (Daniel Auteuil), putting her skill with adolescent angst to fiery use.
Bruno is tasked with delivering an unrevealed message for his uncle, and his journey is marked by frustration, temptation and unsatisfying couplings. Kristin Scott Thomas stands out amongst those Bruno meets en route.
Joie de vivre? There's little of that here.
Swimming Pool (2003)
Under the direction of François Ozon yet again, this close, balmy thriller was key to Sagnier's breakout success, bringing her to wider mainstream attention. The fact that she spends at least half of the movie in the buff is neither here nor there. Probably.
Charlotte Rampling's author is suffering from a case of writer's block, although that may not be the only area of her life that's lacking inspiration. She retreats to her agent's French holiday home, to be unexpectedly joined by his clothes-shy daughter, Julie (Sagnier).
Joie de vivre? Nympho hedonist Julie exasperates and inspires the houseguest with her carpe diem lifestyle.
Little Lili (2003)
With thoughts of slowing down clearly not on her mind, Sagnier launched straight into this next movie, a modern reworking of Anton Chekhov's play, The Seagull .
She is Lili, the aspiring wannabe who worms her way into a group of filmmakers holidaying in the French countryside. She eventually becomes the star in a film inspired by the holiday, but she's ultimately left unsatisfied with her lot in life.
Joie de vivre? She uses her disarming vivacity to conniving effect here.
Peter Pan (2003)
This stab at adapting JM Barrie's play/novel (again) is undoubtedly the 'biggest' movie on Sagnier's CV in terms of budget and scale, though it didn't signal anything as drastic as a move to Hollywood for Sagnier.
She's fine as Tink, all fairy glow and panto mugging, but she can't wholly prevent the character from becoming the selfish irritant she's always been. Jason Isaacs provides better value as born-for-it Captain Hook, and while the kids are a bit annoying, the movie still conjures up a certain old-fashioned magic.
Joie de vivre? She gets her pixie perkiness back after a round of the 'I do believe in fairies' chant...
Une Aventure (2005)
Following Peter Pan , Ludivine Sagnier had an uncharacteristically quiet spell, before returning with this French drama. Starring in a mammoth Hollywood project wasn't cause for Sagnier to change her career course.
By this point in her career, Sagnier was comfortably leading this type of searching drama, although this one could have done with a little more depth.
Joie de vivre? It's another mostly cheerless affair.
Despite reaching a very comfortable plateau of success in career terms, Sagnier maintained a keen interest in taking risks, and refused to be pigeonholed by genre expectations.
Those experiments weren't always successful: here she plays a high-school girl attending a hyperstylised US institution. It's part musical, but it soon descends into horror.
Joie de vivre? She seemed to be seeking out fun here.
Paris, Je T'Aime (2006)
This Parisian portmanteau piece, that inspired a number of pseudo-spin-offs, collates the work of a wealth of international talent (both in front and behind the camera) into 18 snappy shorts.
The City of Love provides the characterful backdrop to the gorgeous goings-on, and while some segments may miss the mark, there's more than enough goodies here to make it well worth a visit. Sagnier meets craggy Nick Nolte in a portion directed by Alfonso Cuarón.
Joie de vivre? Romance and whimsy drip from every frame.
French California (2006)
Continuing a run of defiantly Gallic productions, La Californie was adapted from a short story by Georges Simenon. Maguy (Nathalie Baye) retreats to a luxurious mansion overlooking Cannes, where she hopes to reconcile with her daughter played by Sagnier.
As is common in Ludivine's movies ( 8 Women , Swimming Pool ), things soon descend into murder mystery territory.
Joie de vivre? The glamourous locations sparkle.
Sagnier had a fairly brief role in this lively biopic of the 17th-century playwright. The film playfully fills in the gaps in a couple of years unaccounted for by Molière biographies.
It's all lighthearted enough, as Molière (Romain Duris, an asset) helps Monsieur Jourdain woo Célimène (Sagnier), while falling for Jourdain's wife at the same time. A passing knowledge of the playwright's work is helpful, as various plot developments echo some of his later productions.
Joie de vivre? The whole movie's brimming with a farcical energy.
Les Chansons D'Amour (2007)
More relationship shenanigans and another musical for Sagnier. Christophe Honoré directs this tale of three pretty, young Parisians who begin an unconventional three-way relationship.
Sagnier unfortunately bows out due to a tragic turn of events before the first act is out, but the tripartite piece is well worth catching as a melodic meditation on love and grief, and for being that rare thing: a non-campy modern-day musical.
Joie de vivre? She's got plenty of spirit before her brush with the Grim Reaper.
The Girl Cut In Two (2007)
Sagnier took centre stage in another strong showcase, starring in a black comedy about a weathergirl conflicted in her choice of suitor. Tensions soon escalate, and the study of sexual politics and power play becomes a lively Hitchcockian thriller.
Les Enfants Du Siècle co-star Benoît Magimel also appears, and French master Claude Chabrol writes and directs. The neat plot is tightly handled, and Chabrol keeps the sexy stuff hinted at rather than explicit.
Joie de vivre? She's doing OK before the two blokes saunter into the picture.
Un Secret (2007)
Sagnier moved back towards more troubling material in this time-jumping holocaust drama. In the '80s, François (Mathieu Almaric) is piecing together the pieces of his family's backstory, discovering how his idealised parents became united.
While more dynamic direction could have upped the story's emotional thump, the performances grip tenaciously. Sagnier, in particular, makes sure the heartbreak is keenly felt, as her effervescent grin is subdued by the circumstances she faces.
Joie de vivre? It's sad to see it knocked out of her.
Mesrine: Killer Instinct & Public Enemy No. 1 (2008)
Sagnier appeared only briefly in the first part of the epic crime two-parter, in an opening flashforward that overshadowed the biopic, but her role was fleshed out in the second instalment.
She plays Sylvie Jeanjacquot, one of Mesrine's many women (his stellar line-up also includes Cécile De France and Elena Anaya). Vincent Cassel's electrifying performances hogs much of the second movie, but Sagnier still has room to shine, enjoying the good times before beginning to question her partner's sanity.
Joie de vivre? She certainly has a taste for the high-life.
Lily Sometimes (2010)
This marked Ludivine Sagnier's second time starring as a titular Lily (see Little Lili ), and as she co-starred with Diane Kruger it was a veritable feast of classy, continental hotties.
That frivolous summation of the film's qualities doesn't do justice to the attempt at a heartfelt plot though, and this comes across as something like a female Rain Man ( Rain Woman ?) as Kruger's spoilt older sis has to take care of her younger sister (Sagnier) with mental health issues.
Joie de vivre? That would appear to be the overriding message.
Love Crime (2010)
Sagnier reteamed with French-fluent Brit Kristin Scott Thomas for this thriller, which was the final movie from director Alain Corneau before he died.
Set in the corporate world, Scott Thomas' high-flying Christine takes an obsessive liking to Sagnier's office junior Isabelle, and sets about making her working life hell. It's a measure of the two talented actresses that the screwy story stays on the tracks.
Joie de vivre? Quite the opposite.
The Devil's Double (2011)
Sagnier is back in movie-houses this week in a based-on-a-true-story crime thriller so excessive it makes Scarface look like an episode of The Bill . Dominic Cooper stars as Latif Yahia, a man forced to act as a double for Saddam Hussein's son (also Cooper).
Sagnier provides a boldly-wigged spark as the girlfriend of Hussein Jr who comes between the two men. It won't win any prizes at the subtlety awards, but if you can handle the sensory onslaught, you're in for an entertaining night out.
Joie de vivre? This movie doesn't do anything by halves...