I love many French actresses but Mlle. Fleurot has a style that I have not seen since Catherine Deneuve. This is not putting any of the other women down, there is just a similar type of elegance and grace that comes with this lady. She appears tall and striking on screen and seems to tower over others. Her presence on camera jumps out at you whenever she appears and you almost forget everyone around her. Her demeanor comes across as a delicate flower, assuming she is a vulnerable woman and yet, there is nothing helpless about her. It is a mixed message that she plays in all of the roles that I have seen her in.
Mlle. Fleurot has been in the top French TV series, Un Village Français (A French Village) for starters; which is a masterpiece in my eyes. This has to be the best WWII series from Europe and it is rated highly by the NY Times. She is also in Spiral a highly rated police series and now she is in a series on Netflix entitled Le Bazar de la Charité (The Bonfire of Destiny).
In Un Village Français, she goes from being married to the doctor who later becomes the Mayor, to a local detective, to a Nazi officer. We see her character progress from being a typical village woman, to the woman about town, to a traitor to her country. After the war, she becomes a psychological mess, with a broken heart still defending her love affair with the Third Reich. Yet, because she is able to play men with her irresistible charms her first husband makes sure she is taken care of even in the end. I found myself over empathizing for her as well. Even though Heinrich, her Nazi boyfriend, has done some really horrible acts of war crimes, which you can imagine, I still found myself hoping she and he would get away. Luckily, Henrich’s character and the actor spoke fluently in several languages. He was a master manipulator. A great balance to the female provocateur.
In Spiral she is with the handsome co-attorney, who ends up dying in a later season. She will be raped, lose her business, I think she was even dis-barred at one point and in prison (it has been a while). She had murdered her rapist and it took a while for them to get her off. They had her with a woman at one point, for about five minutes, which was out of character for her and seemed staged simply for sensationalism. I was disappointed with this aspect of the series. It was almost over by this point and I suspect they were pushing the envelope. At the same time, you could say that it was necessary to show how far she had spiraled down. Some of the characters grew and some fell apart during this series. She was always on the edge of bankruptcy emotionally and even financially. A very good mini-series, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I think I even cried when her attorney boyfriend died. He was just too handsome!
The most recent series that I watched, and I confess, I watched all eight in one day. Not my normal thing to do but it was a Sunday, and I was tempted. Once again, she is with the bad boy, a guy who has too much power, like Heinrich, it is over the entire village. She also has the good guy, who won’t last and so we have this stereotype re-envisioned once again. I felt like she got away with breaking into her home too many times successfully, though there were no computer operated cameras back then and it WAS a mansion. In this series, we are focused on three women’s lives but hers is the main focus of our concern. They tried to create equality with the other two ladies but as she came from all this power, that we wanted to lose, the story revolved around whether or not he would get away with his crimes and she would end up safe.
While not just about her beauty, in relation to Ms. Deneuve’s, Audrey has that sexual inhibition as well. Many French actresses do but there is again, an understated grace and elegance that brings these two French women together. Audrey and Catherine, have a similar feminine mystique that brings a juxtaposition between the saint and sinner to life. We see them as being fragile, like a minister’s wife and even with their clothes off, yet there is a confidence that they will be able to create an erotic scene with the flair of a prostitute. More like a high priced call-girl.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch any of these suspenseful programs, make sure to look for the titles as soon as you can. The only one you have to watch on Netflix is Bonfire, the rest are on MhZ Choice. I prefer this because the latter understands foreign films. Netflix has turned toward dumbing down international films with American voices. It is a tragedy, but luckily, I figured out how to put the original sound back in with subtitles. (I haven’t been on here in years).