(From left) French actress Juliette Benveniste, French actress Anne-Sophie Bowen-Chatet, Luxembourg actress Vicky Krieps, French actor and director Mathieu Amalric, actor Arieh Worthhalter, actor Sacha Ardilly and actor Aurele Grzesik arrive for the screening of the film “Serre-moi Fort” (Hold Me Tight) at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. — AFP

Vicky Krieps from tiny Luxembourg is headed for the big time, with a busy schedule of blockbusters in the pipeline and two official selections at the Cannes film festival. Since acting opposite movie monument Daniel Day-Lewis in "Phantom Thread" in 2017, Krieps and her trademark, lightly German-accented delivery has become one of the hottest properties in the film world. She will soon be in multiplexes with "Old", the new mystery thriller from "Sixth Sense" director M. Night Shymalan, and will also star in Netflix drama "Beckett" alongside John David Washington, and "The Survivor", a biographical drama by Barry Levinson.

In the meantime, she is at the ongoing Cannes festival with two films, including one by French director Mia Hansen-Love, who teamed her up with British star Tim Roth in "Bergman Island". The film tells the story of a couple, both movie directors, looking for inspiration on the remote Swedish island of Faro where film giant Ingmar Bergman did much of his key work. Kriep's character has no problem taking on her more established husband, played by Roth, just as she did with Day-Lewis.

Her character, Chris, even takes aim at Bergman, calmly observing that he could only concentrate on his films because there were women to look after his children. "In the end, what makes somebody a monument? It's a construction of society, an idea about who is important and who is not important, and who is famous and who is not famous," Krieps told AFP in an interview. "If there's one thing I can say about myself is that I am free of that."

'Blown away'

"Bergman Island" is among 24 films vying for the Cannes top prize, the Palme d'Or. "I had seen Vicky Krieps in 'Phantom Thread' and I was blown away," director Hansen-Love told AFP. "There is something radiant about her, but also a great, intelligent simplicity. She has no mannerisms, there's something very understated about her," she said. Tim Roth said after filming with Krieps that she has "an unusual presence" and was always willing to take risks. "You can be an unusual presence and not get it done. She gets it done. She's got the chops," he told AFP.

Krieps also plays the lead in "Hold Me Tight" by Frenchman Mathieu Almaric, which is appearing in the festival's Premiere category. Krieps, who has one German parent and one from Luxembourg, makes no big deal about speaking several languages fluently. "I grew up like this and to me words are only words," she said. "To me language is just a vehicle. I change vehicles."

And despite her strong female roles she does not define her work as specifically feminist. "Feminism to me is just being who we are. I hope one day we arrive in a world where we are all who we are," she said. Krieps attributes some of her success in "Phantom Thread" to her character's refusal to use seduction to win over the famous fashion designer played by Day-Lewis.

That choice, she said, upended expectations that "in a movie set in the 50s, a love relationship, a man-woman dynamic", seduction would be "the usual thing". "I was a nobody, not famous or especially good at what I do, just being me, and not seducing as a woman. I think that gave so much strength to Alma, my character," she said. - AFP