Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (April 4, 1932–December 29, 1986) was a Soviet and Russian filmmaker, writer, film editor, film theorist and opera director. Tarkovsky's films include Andrei Rublev, Solaris, The Mirror, and Stalker. He directed the first five of his seven feature films in the Soviet Union; his last two films were produced in Italy and Sweden.
Achille-Claude Debussy (August 22, 1862 – March 25, 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. Debussy is not only among the most important of all French composers but also a central figure in European music at the turn of the twentieth century. He was made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1903.
Claude Monet, born Oscar Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant).
François Roland Truffaut (6 February 1932 – 21 October 1984) was an influential filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five films.
Marie Skłodowska Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes, receiving one in physics and later, one in chemistry. She was the first woman to serve as professor at the University of Paris. She was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw and lived there until she was twenty-four years old.
Marie-Sophie Germain (April 1, 1776 – June 27, 1831) was a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. Despite initial opposition from her parents and difficulties presented by a gender-biased society, she gained an education from books in her father's library and from correspondence with famous mathematicians such as Lagrange, Legendre, and Gauss. One of the pioneers of elasticity theory, she won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her essay on the subject.
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand (26 October 1916 – 8 January 1996) served as the President of France from 1981 to 1995, elected as representative of the Socialist Party (PS). First elected during the May 1981 presidential election, he became the first socialist President of the Fifth Republic and the first left-wing head of state since 1957. He is to date the only member of the Socialist Party to be elected as the President of France.
Jacques Derrida (15 July 1930 – 8 October 2004) was a French philosopher born in Algeria, who is known as the founder of deconstruction. His voluminous work has had a significant impact on literary theory and continental philosophy.
Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American writer who spent most of her life in France, and who became a catalyst in the development of modern art and literature. Her life was marked by two primary relationships, the first with her brother Leo Stein, from 1874-1914 (Gertrude and Leo), and the second with her partner Alice B. Toklas, from 1907 until Stein's death in 1946 (Gertrude and Alice).
Simone Signoret (25 March 1921 – 30 September 1985) was a French cinema actress often hailed as one of France's greatest movie stars. She became the first French person to win an Academy Award, for her role in Room at the Top (1959). In her lifetime she also received a BAFTA, an Emmy, Golden Globe, Cannes Film Festival recognition and the Silver Bear for Best Actress.
Irène Joliot-Curie (12 September 1897 – 17 March 1956) was a French scientist, the daughter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie and the wife of Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Jointly with her husband, Joliot-Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. This made the Curies the family with most Nobel laureates to date. Both children of the Joliot-Curies, Hélène and Pierre, are also esteemed scientists.
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress of film, television and theatre. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres; from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional comedies, though her greatest successes were her roles in romantic dramas.
Édith Piaf, born Édith Giovanna Gassion (December 19, 1915 – October 11, 1963), was a French singer and cultural icon who became universally regarded as France's greatest popular singer. " Her singing reflected her life, with her specialty being ballads. Among her songs are "La Vie en Rose" (1946), "Hymne à l'Amour" (1949), "Milord" (1959), "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" (1960), "l'Accordéoniste" (1955), "Padam... Padam... " (1951), and "La Foule" (1957).
Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin (8 May 1903 – 26 February 1971), better known as Fernandel, was a French actor and singer. Born in Marseille, France, he was a comedy star who first gained popularity in French vaudeville, operettas, and music-hall revues. His stage name is the diminutive form of his first name in Occitan. In 1930, Fernandel appeared in his first motion picture and for more than forty years he would be France's top comic actor.
For the queen consort of Sigismund III of Poland, see Anna of Austria (1573-1598) For the queen consort of Philip II of Spain, see Anna of Austria (1549-1580) For other women named Anne of Austria, see Anna of Austria (disambiguation) Anne of Austria (22 September 1601 – 20 January 1666) was Queen consort of France and Navarre and regent for her son, Louis XIV of France. During her regency (1643–1651) Cardinal Mazarin served as France's chief minister.
Jacques Romain Georges Brel (in French) (8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer-songwriter. Brel composed and recorded his songs almost exclusively in French. Brel's songs are not especially well known in the English-speaking world except in translation and through the interpretations of other singers, most famously Scott Walker and Judy Collins.
Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer. He was one of the first important soloists in jazz (beating cornetist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months and later playing duets with Armstrong), and was perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist. Forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive, wide vibrato characterized Bechet's playing.
Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, known as Yves Saint Laurent (1 August 1936 – 1 June 2008), was an Algerian-born French fashion designer who was considered one of the greatest figures in French fashion in the 20th century.
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891) was a French poet, born in Charleville, Ardennes. As part of the decadent movement, his influence on modern literature, music and art has been enduring and pervasive. He produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and gave up creative writing altogether before he reached 21. He remained a prolific letter-writer all his life.