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Élisa (1995)

Marie has had a tough childhood ever since her mother Elisa committed suicide. She has spent most of her life in an orphanage and now makes a living as a small time criminal in Paris. Now ... See full summary »


Jean Becker
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Paradis ... Marie
Gérard Depardieu ... Jacques 'Lébovitch' / Marie's father
Clotilde Courau ... Solange / Marie's friend
Sekkou Sall Sekkou Sall ... Ahmed / Marie's friend
Florence Thomassin Florence Thomassin ... Élisa / Marie's mother
Werner Schreyer Werner Schreyer ... Conductor
Michel Bouquet ... Samuel
Philippe Léotard ... Gitane Smoker
Catherine Rouvel ... Manina
Melvil Poupaud ... Pharmacist's Son
Olivier Saladin Olivier Saladin ... Kevin
Bernard Verley ... Entrepreneur
Reine Bartève Reine Bartève ... Grandmother
André Julien ... Grandfather
Gérard Chaillou Gérard Chaillou ... Claude Chapelier


Marie has had a tough childhood ever since her mother Elisa committed suicide. She has spent most of her life in an orphanage and now makes a living as a small time criminal in Paris. Now she wants to unravel her past and find her father whom she blames for her mother's death. Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

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Did You Know?


The film is dedicated to Serge Gainsbourg. See more »


Written by Lucio Dalla
Performed by Lucio Dalla and Luciano Pavarotti
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User Reviews

It gets better, trust me
30 July 2019 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

The first scene of this French drama was so upsetting, I turned it off and seriously considered not turning it back on again. Florence Thomassin smothers her young daughter with a pillow before committing suicide. Why would anyone want to watch that? I did end up turning it back on and watching the rest of it-otherwise I wouldn't be writing a review-and it got considerably better.

As you probably know, I watched Élisa because of Gérard Depardieu. I'll sit through anything to support my celebrity boyfriend. And while he didn't even come on the screen until the second hour, I was glad I got to see his performance. His character could have easily been turned into a straight villain with no redeeming qualities, but with Gérard's beautiful expressions, it's easy to root for him, even after a very unlikable entrance scene. He puts such thoughtfulness into the role, he actually improves the script without changing a word. Why is he always so great?

The main character, Vanessa Paradis, shows a raw hunger for life, revenge, and love that most of the time makes her incredibly unlikable. However, whether it's her charming beauty or the reminder that she is very young and is only despicable because that's the only way she knows how to survive, the audience can't help but hope she gets her act together. She's spent her entire life without a mother and hating an absent father, scamming and stealing with her friends, Clotilde Courau and Sekkou Sall. Her actions are truly awful, but when she finally decides to track down her dad and get some answers, the audience sees she's trying to create a better life.

If you liked Obsession, check out this film. That one was a thriller and this one is more of an indie drama, but they're similar enough that you'll probably like both.

Kiddy Warning: Obviously, you have control over your own children. However, due to upsetting scenes involving children, I wouldn't let my kids watch it.

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Release Date:

1 February 1995 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Élisa See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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