Camille Claudel (1989): Starring Isabelle Adjani in Oscar Nominated Performance

French star Isabelle Adjani, who had excelled as Victor Hugo’s daughter in Truffaut’s “The Story of Adele H,” plays another complex role in Bruno Nyutten’s melodrama, “Camille Claudel,” about Rodin’s mistress and artist.

In the title role, Adjani gives an emotionally intense performance as the student-mistress of noted sculptor August Rodin (Gerard Depardieu). After two decades, Camille decides to go on her own as an artist and the film describes all the obstacles and prejudices against her by her family as well as by society at large.

The choppy, uneven film leaves a lot to be desired. Nyutten is neither a good storyteller nor a proficient technician. End result is a shapeless drama, punctuated by hysterical outbursts that give Adjani an opportunity to demonstrate her acting chops.

It’s the kind of over-the-top role that impresses Academy voters, and indeed Adjani scored her second Best Actress nomination, competing against Pauline Collins, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, and Jessica Tandy who won (“Driving Miss Daisy”).

Oscar Nominations: 2

Best Foreign Language Picture
Actress: Isabella Adjani

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context

In 1989, Italy won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso.”