Irene Jacob in The Dust Of Time (Theo Angelopoulos)
An epic performance by Jacob, in a film which spans decades. She not only manages the shift in age without fuss, but she also delivers a performance of astonishing sensitivity but which is neither self-pitying nor self-promoting - it's honest and true. An example of the high artistry which acting can be.
I blogged more fully on Irene Jacob in "The Shy Poetry Of Irene Jacob"
Andre Wilms in Le Havre (Aki Kaurismaki)
A wonderful example of laid-back-cut-the-crap simplicity, which sits perfectly in the cinematic universe of Aki Kaurismaki. Wilms plays an aging ex-bohemian-turned-show-shiner, who hides an immigrant on the run from the police. Every moment of Wilm's performance rings utterly true, and, along with his charm, creates something warming and moving.
Tomas Doret in The Kid With A Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
An immensely powerful performance from Doret, playing an abandoned and unloved 12 year old. His scenes of rejection are heartbreaking, as is his scene involving a show of self-loathing. Doret resists the temptation to embellish his scenes with exposition and manipulate the audience, instead he is direct, and this directness is the true source of his power in this performance. Doret went a long way in changing my generally negative view of child actors.
I blogged more fully on Doret's performance here
Denis Lavant in Holy Motors (Leos Carax)
Lavant plays a whole range of characters from an assasin to a beggar to a monster to a family man, and all during one night. It's a great role for any actor, but to which Lavant brings his intense physicality and innate strangeness. It's a unique, bravura performance, which must be seen to be believed.
Teresa Madruga in Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
Madruga's performance is marked by a sadness, and a lonliness, and which is rarely displayed openly, it is more a question of Madruga's prescence, as when she finds out a student who was meant to be staying with her now isn't, we feel her disappointment rather than see it. It is also a performance which is inflected by the film's visuals; director Gomes employs a magnificent black and white, and often the camera is static, which creates an emptiness and emotional flatness.