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April 30, 2014 12:55 PM

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Fanny Ardant Talks 'Bright Days Ahead'

French actress Fanny Ardant has appeared in more than 50 films. At 65, she is probably best known to American audiences for playing the seductive title role, Mathilde Bauchard, in 1981's "The Woman Next Door," directed by François Truffaut, which...

French acteye-fanny-ardant01.jpgress Fanny Ardant has appeared in more than 50 films. At 65, she is probably best known to American audiences for playing the seductive title role, Mathilde Bauchard, in 1981's "The Woman Next Door," directed by François Truffaut, which made her a major star. Her other movies include 1983's "Confidentially Yours," also directed by Truffaut; 1996's "Pedale douce," directed by Gabriel Aghion, for which she won a Cesar award, and 2002's "Callas Forever," directed by Franco Zeffirelli.

Now her latest, "Bright Days Ahead," directed by Marion Vernoux, will make its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Friday. In the movie, the actress, best known for her roles as a brunette, is blonde; otherwise, she seems to have changed relatively little in the intervening years.

In "Bright Days Ahead," which also stars Patrick Chesnais and Laurent Lafitte, she's Caroline, a dentist who has recently retired, and who is married to another dentist (Chesnais), with two daughters and grandchildren. Retirement has left her at a loose end, and one of her daughters gives her a membership to a senior center, Bright Days Ahead. When she learns it offers computer classes, she begins attending them, since she has been having trouble with her home computer. Before long, she's involved in an extramarital affair with the 40-ish computer consultant (Lafitte), and taking all sorts of risks.

"I love the character," says Ardant. "We are not completely conventional, conformist. She has a good husband and good daughters; she is not poor or desperate. But she still decides to have a life of her own. And then she realizes that the old life was good."

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