Isild Le Besco
Birth Date:
November 22, 1982
Birth Place:
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One of France's promising young actresses, Isild Le Besco burst into prominence in the early millennium thanks to her portrayal of Emilie de Lancris in Benoît Jacquot's “Sade” (2000), opposite veteran Daniel Auteuil. She was handed a Lumiere Award and a César nomination for her performance. Labeled by the New York Times as the It Girl of New French Cinema, the gifted daughter of French multi talented beauty Catherine Belkhodja obtained further recognition with her performances in Anne-Sophie Birot's “Girls Can't Swim” (2000, won a Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema Award and an Étoile d'Or Award), Cédric Kahn's “Roberto Succo” (2001, received a César nomination), Emmanuelle Bercot's “Backstage” (2005, won a Thessaloniki Film Festival Award) and another Jacquot's film, “The Untouchable” (2006) from which she earned a Venice Film Festival Award. Isild has also tried her hand behind the camera as both director and writer, with credits like “Demi-tarif” (2003), “Charly” (2007) and “Bas-fonds” (2010).

Belkhodja's Daughter

Childhood and Family:

Isild Le Besco was born on November 22, 1982, in Paris, France. Her father has origins from Vietnam and Brittany, while her mother, French artist, actress and film director Catherine Belkhodja, has Algerian origins. She has two brothers, Jowan Le Besco and Kolia Litscher, and two sisters, Maïwenn Le Besco and Leonor Graser, who all in the film industry or acting business.   

The Untouchable


Isild Le Besco made her first film appearance on the France biopic “Lacenaire” (1990), starring Daniel Auteuil as Pierre-François Lacenaire and directed by Francis Girod. There she played the young embodiment of her real life sister Maïwenn's character, Hermine. In the following year, she acted alongside her sister Kolia Litscher and her mother on the short film “Place des Vosges,” which was also directed by her mom.

After a six year absence, Isild resurfaced at age 15 with roles in the short films “Kub Valium” and “Les vacances” (both 1997). She continued to appear in such shorts as “Coquillettes” (1998), “Les amis de Ninon” (1998), “La puce” (1999), which won the Cinefondation Award (2nd place) at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, “Mille morceaux” (2000), and in the made for television film “Le choix d'Élodie” (1999), directed by Emmanuelle Bercot. She also made a guest appearance in the television series “Le bahut” (1999).

Isild's breakout film role came when she landed the significant role of Emilie de Lancris in the film adaptation of a Serge Bramly novel, “Sade” (2000), starring Daniel Auteuil. Under the direction of Benoît Jacquot, she won the Lumiere Award for Most Promising Young Actress (Meilleur espoir féminin) and was nominated for a César award in the category of Most Promising Actress (Meilleur jeune espoir féminin) for her performance. She next starred as Gwen, a teenager living in a coastal town in Brittany in the coming of age comedy/drama film “Girls Can't Swim” (“Les filles ne savent pas nager”), which premiered at the Montréal Film Festival on September 4, 2000. Directed and co-written by Anne-Sophie Birot, the film brought the talented actress the Golden Wave for Best Actress (Interprétation Féminine) from the 2000 Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema, sharing with co-star Karen Alyx, and the 2001 Étoile d'Or for Best Female Newcomer (La révélation féminine).

In 2001, Isild starred in the Raphaël Frydman drama film “Bye Bye Babylon” (“Adieu Babylone”), about a teen girl from Paris who decides to complete the aborted journey of a young man whom she secretly has a crush on, and co-starred with Stefano Cassetti and Patrick Dell'Isola in the Cédric Kahn directed biopic “Roberto Succo,” where she received a César nomination for Most Promising Actress for her portrayal of Léa. The year also found her working in two shorts: “Des anges,” which won the Cannes Film Festival Gras Savoye Award, and “La nuit de noces” (with Samuel Le Bihan).

The promising young actress starred in the award nominated drama film “Un moment de bonheur” (2002), portrayed a young prostitute in “The Repentant” (“La repentie,” 2002), opposite Isabelle Adjani, Sami Frey and Samy Naceri, reunited with Isabelle Adjani for the the film version of  “Adolphe” (2002), directed by Benoît Jacquot, had a supporting role in Philippe Le Guay's “The Cost of Living” (“Le coût de la vie,” 2003) and portrayed Lili in Benoît Jacquot's “Right Now” (2004), which premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. She also appeared in the short films “Quelqu'un vous aime...” and “Dans la forêt noire” (both 2003) and in the made for television movies “The House by the Canal” (2003) and “ Princesse Marie” (2004).     

After starring with Émilie Dequenne and Grégoire Colin in “A Song of Innocence” (2005), by Antoine Santana, Isild was cast opposite Emmanuelle Seigner in Emmanuelle Bercot's “Backstage” (2005), which was screened in the Official Selection (Out of Competition) category of the 62nd Venice International Film Festival. Playing an adolescent groupie named Lucie, she won the Best Actress Award at the 2005 Thessaloniki Film Festival for her performance. Commenting about her character on the film, she said, “It was very violent -- I really had to go very far from me, for this role.”

The same year, the actress also starred in the drama film “Camping sauvage,” opposite Denis Lavant and Pascal Bongard. The actress gained further attention for her portrayal of Jeanne, a young actress on search of her biological father, on “The Untouchable” (“L'intouchable,” 2006), which was directed and written by Benoît Jacquot. She picked up the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 2006 Venice Film Festival for the role. The same year, she also provided the voice of Mona in the French animated film “U,” which was shown the 2007 Seattle International Film Festival.

Next up for Isild, she worked in Jeanne Waltz's “A Parting Shot” (2007), Sophie Laloy's “You Will Be Mine” (“Je te mangerais”, 2009), opposite Judith Davis, Marc Chapiteau and Fabienne Babe, Dagur Kári's “The Good Heart” (2009), starring Paul Dano, Brian Cox and Bill Buell, and Benoît Jacquot's “Deep in the Woods” (2010), with Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Jérôme Kircher.  Isild, who made her directorial debut in 2003's “Demi-tarif,”which she also wrote, returned with her second feature “Charly” in 2007, a drama starring Kolia Litscher, Julie-Marie Parmentier and Jeanne Mauborgne. She also directed and appeared in the segment “Le regard d'un enfant” of “Enfances” (2007), wrote and directed the drama film “Bas-fonds” (2010), starring Valérie Nataf, Ginger Romàn and Noémie Le Carrer, and directed and starred in the short film “Bette Davis” (2011).   


Venice Film Festival: Marcello Mastroianni Award, “The Untouchable,” 2006
Thessaloniki Film Festival: Best Actress, “Backstage,” 2005
Étoile d'Or: Best Female Newcomer (La révélation féminine), “Girls Can't Swim,” 2001
Lumiere Award: Most Promising Young Actress (Meilleur espoir féminin), “Sade,” 2001
Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema: Golden Wave, Best Actress (Interprétation Féminine), “Girls Can't Swim,” 2000
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