A French cinema icon known for her daring roles, the latest Huppert fête is no exception.
Oscar-nominated Isabelle Huppert (Elle) is widely recognized in her homeland of France as its greatest living actress, having earned more nominations for the Academy Award equivalent (the César Award) than any other actor. So it’s always a treat to see what role she picks up next.
In Mama Weed, directed by Jean-Paul Salomé, which opens in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other US cities on July 16, Huppert plays Patience Portefeux, a lonely French-Arabic translator for the Paris police anti-narcotics unit. Patience lives a modest and existential life, working hard interpreting the wire-tapped calls between dangerous and notorious drug dealers. In the evenings, she retires to her humble apartment or visits her elderly mother (the fabulous Liliane Rovère, Call My Agent) at the nursing home where she is behind on her payments.
But when Patience discovers the son of one of her mother’s nurses is caught up in a drug deal she gets involved to help him — and finds herself drawn into the web of drug dealing which occurs hidden in plain sight on the streets and supermarchés of Paris. Soon, the dark side of the drug world rubs off on her and she transforms herself into a mysterious cross-cultural figure, “Mama Weed.” Suddenly, Patience is a big fish in the world of hashish dealing and complications ensue as she tries to keep her two identities separate. Will she succeed? Does crime pay…? Based on The Godmother, the acclaimed novel by Hannelore Cayre, and nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay César Award, Mama Weed is both a charming crime caper and a post-colonial look at France today.