Elsa Zylberstein or Elsa Steiner is a three-time César Award-nominated French film, TV, and stage actress.
Zylberstein was born in Paris to an Ashkenazi Polish Jewish father, Albert Zylberstein, and a Catholic mother, her father is a physicist. Previously, Zylberstein considered herself Jewish, but now she is more attracted by Buddhism. She has practiced classical dance since her childhood. After a bac A3, she began university and studied English, but she was strongly attracted to artistic pursuits. She was in the same class as Francis Huster at the Cours Florent.
Elsa Zylberstein appeared for the first time on screen in 1989 in Baptême. She also appeared in Van Gogh directed by Maurice Pialat. In 1992, she won the Michel Simon Prize and the first of her three nominations for the César Award for Most Promising Actress. In 1993, she played a student in Beau fixe, and won the Prix Romy Schneider.
She inspired young directors such as Pascale Bailly, Diane Bertrand and especially Martine Dugowson, who offered her the lead role alongside Romane Bohringer in Mina Tannenbaum. This 1994 critically successful film is the story of a friendship between the two. She then appeared in Farinelli, Mr N., and Jefferson in Paris. She played Suzanne Valadon in Lautrec, and then the mistress of the artist, Modigliani, in Modigliani. Elsa played a Yiddish singer who fall in love with a gay clarinetist in Man Is a Woman, with Antoine de Caunes. She also gained roles in Time Regained, Combat d'amour en songe, and Ce jour-là.
In 2006 she played Mathilde, an Orthodox Jewish woman faced with marriage problems in Little Jerusalem. She also appeared in J'invente rien, based on a novel by Christine Angot. In 2008, she was in two films presented at the Berlin Festival: I've Loved You So Long, with Kristin Scott Thomas, and La Fabrique des sentiments.
She was the companion of Antoine de Caunes between 1997 and 2005. She has recently become the companion of the Adviser of the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, Georges-Marc Benamou.
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