Karine Viard
© Gaumont Distribution - Karine Viard in Love is the Perfect Crime (“L'amour est un crime parfait”) (2013), by Jean-Marie Larrieu and Arnaud Larrieu.

Karine Viard

I like making the banal sublime.

In both dramatic and comedic roles, French actress Karin Viard cultivates a nuanced performance style that enriches the life force of all her characters.

Published on 10/06/2019

2 min

Passionate about cinema since her teenage years, Karin Viard moved to Paris to attend Vera Gregh and Blanche Salant's theatre classes, and in 1990 won her first small role in Auntie Danielle (“Tatie Danielle”). This was the beginning of a spectacular rise in which she produced one critically-acclaimed performance after another, from dramas (Sidestroke (“La Nage indienne”), 1993, Fourbi, 1996) to comedies (Hikers (“Les Randonneurs”), 1996, The New Eve (“La Nouvelle Ève"), 1998).

Her success was recognized in the early 2000s when she won two César awards for Haut les coeurs! (“Chin Up!”) (2000) and Summer Things (“Embrassez qui vous voudrez”) (2003). Now a prominent figure in French cinema, the actress has been called upon by numerous directors, from Cédric Klapisch (Paris, 2008) to François Ozon (Trophy Wife (“Potiche”), 2010), Maïwenn (Polisse, 2011) and Éric Lartigau (The Bélier Family (“La Famille Bélier”), 2014). 

As comfortable in the dark register of dramas as in the quirky world of comedy, Karin Viard is above all an actor who thrives on the art of composition. She likes to work deep into roles and does not hide her preference for complex characters, whether they elicit laughter, melancholy or antipathy.

Her precise and varied style allows her to go from an extravagant thirty-year-old single woman (The New Eve) to an expectant mother with cancer (Haut les cœurs!), to a heart-warming family film (The Bélier Family) to an emotionally demanding work (Lulu in the Nude (“Lulu femme nue”)), while doing each character justice in her performance. An impressive tonal range that makes her one of the most popular actors in French cinema.

Excellent in all her registers, Karin Viard has established herself as an iconic actress, and works with the biggest names in French cinema. But it is in the Franco-Belgian author's film Haut les cœurs!, directed by the Icelandic-American Sólveig Anspach, that she first expresses the true virtuosity of her acting.

A poignant performance, which in 2000 earned her a César Award and a Lumières Award.

Throughout a career praised by critics, the French actress has won numerous prestigious awards at international festivals which have contributed to her popularity across the French-speaking world, accumulating no less than two Césars, two Lumières and two Crystal Globes.

21 Nights with Pattie (“21 nuits avec Pattie )
21 Nights with Pattie (“21 nuits avec Pattie )
  • 1990


    Étienne Chatiliez spots her acting talent and offers her her first role, in the popular comedy Auntie Danielle.

  • 1993


    Karin Viard plays her first lead role in Sidestroke by Xavier Durringer and is nominated for a César Award the following year in the Most Promising Actress category.

  • 2000


    She wins her first César in the Best Actress category for her enchanting performance in Haut les cœurs!, a film directed by the Icelandic-American filmmaker Sólveig Anspach.

  • 2003


    With Summer Things by Michel Blanc, the actress wins the César for Best Supporting Actress.

  • 2015


    This year, Karin Viard wins two Lumières Awards for Best Actress in recognition of her glowing performances in The Bélier Family and Lulu in the Nude.

The Institut français and the actress

Four films featuring Karine Viard are distributed internationally by the Institut français: Love is the Perfect Crime (“L'amour est un crime parfait”, 2013), Lulu in the Nude (“Lulu femme nue”, 2013), Week-ends (2014) and 21 Nights with Pattie (“21 nuits avec Pattie”, 2015).


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