Valérie Donzelli

Valérie Donzelli

Valérie Donzelli is a French actress, writer, and director. She originally studied to be an architect, but changed career direction when she met Jeremy Elkaim while working at the famed French patisserie Ladurée in Paris. Elkaim, an aspiring actor himself, convinced Donzelli to pursue her desire to act too, and she eventually started landing small parts in the late 1990s. Her breakout role was starring as the lead in the 2001 stark neorealist-inspired drama "Martha... Martha," playing a troubled, death-obsessed mother who feels disconnected from her responsibilities as a parent. In 2003 she made another big impact co-starring in "Who Killed Bambi?," a dark thriller about a sicko doctor who drugs his female patients then rapes them. Although Donzelli has racked up an impressive acting resume, working behind the camera was what she really wanted. After directing a number of shorts, she made and starred in the romantic comedy "Queen of Hearts," about a woman who gets dumped by her boyfriend, played by her real-life companion Elkaim, and her subsequent attempts with other men, also all played by Elkaim. Her next feature "Declaration of War" garnered rave reviews when it premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and deals with a couple faced with caring for their baby who has cancer. The film is based on Donzelli and Elkaim's own experiences dealing with their son's battle with cancer.