Belgian-born blonde, blue-eyed Natacha Regnier began acting in amateur theatricals before moving to Paris where she appeared in a number of TV dramas. A short film brought her to the attention of prolific screenwriter Pascal Bonitzer who cast her as a glowing 19-year-old enamored of a middle-aged professor in his directorial debut, "Encore" (1996). Erick Zonca's feature directing debut, "La Vie revee des anges/The Dreamlife of Angels" (1998), then catapulted her to international prominence. As the unsociable, moody Marie, she was the very antithesis of the free-spirited, optimistic Isa (Elodie Bouchez), but the two developed an intense emotional bond despite their differences. The film followed the deterioration of their friendship, the spunky, resilient Isa trying to check Marie's sullen slide as Marie rejects the people who really care for her to vainly pursue the illusion of a better life. Regnier proved right on target with a character that is not easy to like, wrenchingly capturing Marie's desperation. She shared the Cannes Festival Best Actress Award with Bouchez, then picked up a Cesar as Most Promising Actress.