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From "Moloch Tropical" To "Midnight In Paris" Get To Know France's Halle Berry - Sonia Rolland

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 1, 2011 9:07 AM
8 Comments
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If you follow Sergio's weekly weekend box office reports, you'll know already that Midnight In Paris is now officially Woody Allen's highest grossing film in North America, with a total box office take of about $47 million as of this past weekend, overtaking his previous best, Hannah and Her Sisters, which grossed roughly $40 million.

I haven't seen the film yet; In fact, it's been awhile since I've seen any Woody Allen films; the last Allen movie I saw and loved was 1989's Husbands And Wives. A masterstroke I thought; really enjoyed it, and still do. Easily one of my favorite Woody Allen movies, alongside Annie Hall, Stardust Memories (his homage to Fellini), and Interiors (his homage to Bergman).

In Midnight In Paris, our protagonist, played by Owen Wilson, is transported back to the 1920s, an era he admires and idolizes in the novel he is writing, where he encounters art luminaries of the era like F. Scott Fitzgerald,Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Pablo Picasso and Josephine Baker amongst others.

I'd like to draw your attention to the actress who plays Josephine Baker in the film, Rwandan beauty, Ms Sonia Rolland. Those familiar with Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck's last film, Moloch Tropical, will recognize Ms Rolland, as she figures prominently in it, as wife of President Jean de Dieu Théogène, played in the film by Zinedine Soualem.

The 30-year old Rolland, who lives in Paris, France, was born in Kigali, Rwanda, to a Rwandese Tutsi mother and a French father. The family escaped to France preceding the Tutsi genocide, when the actress was in her teens.

Crowned Miss France a few years later, in the year 2000, she would go on to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant, placing 9th overall in the final standings.

Since 2002, Rolland has been afforded a number of onscreen opportunities, both in TV and film, so her acting career has been a relatively short one, with her most prominent role coming in the French TV series Lea Parker, in which she starred as the titular character, which ran for 2 seasons, from 2004 to 2006.

Lea Parker was a police drama based on a graphic novel of the same name (though it could also be that the graphic novel came after the TV series; I couldn't find any info to confirm either). The lead protag is described as "an elite officer in the DOS (Special Operations Division), a secret cell of the national police." Essentially, she's an undercover cop for the French Secret Service, and leads an elite police unit who specialize and are assigned to tough cases!

I've never heard of the series, and obviously haven't watched any of it; I'm wondering if anyone reading this has. As far as I know, it was a weekly prime-time show that aired on in France, and has also been seen in a few African countries.

I embedded a clip from the series below.

Apparently, Ms Rolland is quite famous in France, though she's making her mark in the African continent, where she founded an association to help post-genocide orphans in Rwanda.

Her IMDB resume shows that she doesn't have anything upcoming at the moment.

Anyone seen Midnight In Paris? How'd she do as Josephine Baker? Does she even get much screen time?

Here she is in a clip from Moloch Tropical, a film I saw and reviewed on this site last year HERE.

And here's the intro clip from Lea Parker:

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8 Comments

  • jae | September 23, 2011 1:22 AMReply

    She's really beautiful and I can understand the comparison to Halle. Writers love to compare oversea's actors to American actors. Without the Halle comparison I wouldn't care about this lady.

  • Liliane | August 2, 2011 9:23 AMReply

    She's really talented and we love her here in France! She's also none for her engagement in charity for Rwandese orphans by her association "maisha africa". She's a beautiful ambassador for the children all around the world. I'm Rwandese and i swear that Rwanda is very proud to have a beautiful Lady as her in France. And she's a beautiful mom...

  • Ladybug | August 2, 2011 3:41 AMReply

    I saw her photo an immediately thought that she looks like Audrey Tatou with brown skin. Will check out her work

  • Justin | August 2, 2011 3:13 AMReply

    Actually, she unfortunately receives very little screen time, and the scene seems to be mostly an inside joke who know their '20s culture well, as you see her for a few seconds dancing and then in the background at one scene, and there is no mention of who it is. Of course, though, if you are a Josephine Baker fan or a 1920s aficionado, you instantly get the reference, but for the neophytes to such things, you totally miss out. Overall, though, a very excellent film, but Baker should have been more clearly acknowledged and received more screen time, for sure.

  • Nemesis | August 2, 2011 2:48 AMReply

    OK, have to confess that I winced a little when I saw the headline. Must we follow the somewhat limiting and divisive dictat that only one sort of person can be famous at any one time? Especially when, in this case, the sort of person already has limited options.

    Why cant' we just view Sonia Rolland as Sonia Rolland, not the new anybody else.

    Next thing we'll be looking for feuds and taking sides.

    *sigh*

  • Ninanais | March 25, 2012 7:37 AM

    Hmmm. You're right that Sonia Rolland should be viewed as Sonia Rolland and not the new anyone else. But that is not what this article or its title does. It calls her the FRENCH Halle Berry, so they are presenting her as being in a completely different sphere from Halle, and not a direct competitor. Most of Halle's roles are firmly American, so an actress with a heavy French accent wouldn't really be considered. Maybe only the James Bond role, and Halle has already done that. Anyways, what's cringable about the title is this kind of superficial comparison/reference that doesn't really hold water. Is there anything really similar about Halle and Sonia apart from the fact that they are both biracial? Their screen presence, their interests outside of acting are completely different. Are Thandie Newton, Sophie Okinedo and every other biracial British actress UK's Halle Berry? Why must Halle Berry (such a mediocre actress, actually) be the point of reference for every biracial actress of African descent, just because she's American?)

  • James Madison | August 2, 2011 1:41 AMReply

    I was thinking about checking Midnight To Paris. It was at the Angelika Film Center. I don't know if it is still there or not. I am curious to see Sonia's performance.

  • JMac | August 1, 2011 10:50 AMReply

    Halle better watch out. A biracial woman with the looks, the talent, and none of the drama (yet) is available.

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