By continuing to use this website, you agree to the use of cookies in order to offer you content and services that are tailored to your interests.

En savoir plus et gérer ces paramètres[OK]
Lucie Zhang - © Shanna Besson

Lucie Zhang


Represented by : Agence Arc-en-Ciel

Agent : Aude Huret

Secteur : Cinéma


    With a dual French-Chinese background, Lucie Zhang has been passionate about cinema since high school, after which she did a few theater classes. A student in economics and management at the Université Paris-Dauphine, she acted in several short films before attracting attention in a lead role in Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District, selected in Official Competition at Cannes 2021 and then presented in many international festivals, including those of London, Chicago, Sydney, Karlovy Vary, and the AFI FEST. Her performance in the role of a free and rebellious young woman has been widely praised by film critics.


    Filmography (3)

    Videos (2)


    10 to Watch 2022 : 10 new French talents to discover

    Unifrance presents its "10 Talents to Watch" 2022 Press conference (English subbed)

    They have been grabbing attention in recent months at the festivals of Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, New York, San Sebastián... They’ll be seen on screens around the world in 2022. They are the new faces of French cinema, and they are UniFrance's 10 to Watch 2022.

    The Unifrance '10 to Watch' 2022 :

    Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, director
    Alice Diop, director
    Arthur Harari, director
    Karim Leklou, actor
    Déborah Lukumuena, actress
    Rabah Nait Oufella, actor
    Thimotée Robart, actor
    Agathe Rousselle, actress
    Anamaria Vartolomei, actress
    Lucie Zhang, actress


    Photos (3)


    As part of the Unifrance Critic's Lab 2022
    A portrait of Lucie Zhang by Ryan Coleman, American journalist.

    "There are times when it takes an actor several years and several performances to “break out.” Or more accurately, to hit on the right role, made by the right team, that comes out at the right time, that showcases an essential skill, quirk, or quality they possess that no one else quite possesses. It took Katharine Hepburn six years, 10+ film roles, and many mixed reviews to land on the winning romcom formula that established her as one of the most decorated performers of her generation. And then there are actors like Sandrine Bonnaire, whose debut performance in Maurice Pialat’s À Nos Amours made her a star overnight, and showcased every glimmer of talent and capability that she’d eventually seize on and elevate over the course of her illustrious career.

    21 year old French-Chinese newcomer Lucie Zhang appears to be more of a Sandrine than a Katharine. No one can really foretell the fate of a promising young actor’s career. But if there’s any justice left in this miserable world, Zhang’s exquisite and utterly fearless performance in Jacques Audiard’s new film Paris, 13th District should set her up for a long, rewarding, and absolutely thrilling tenure in French cinema.

    Paris, 13th District traces the elliptical map of meetings, hookups, breakups, and reluctant second shots of four young people: Camille (Makita Samba), a PhD student who inherits a family real estate agency, Nora (Noémie Merlant), a law school dropout who comes to work for, and hook up with him, Amber Sweet (Jehnny Beth), a cam girl who Nora both resembles and develops something like a crush on, and finally Emilie (Zhang), who also embarks on a romance with Camille after agreeing to be his flatmate.

    The film is atypical for Audiard, whose come to be known for hardboiled social dramas like Dheepan and A Prophet. Paris, 13th District is remarkably lighter and looser, like a mixture of the sanguine romanticism of Eric Rohmer and the frank, almost didactically millennial sexuality of a particularly good episode of Girls. In that sense, Audiard hasn’t abandoned his sociological instincts completely. Of all the characters in the central quartet, Zhang’s Emilie feels the most representative of the new breed of typical young Parisians that it’s clear Audiard is enchanted with.

    Emilie is beautiful, transient, and tempestuous. Earthly attachments reach out and try to anchor her, but she (mostly) glides above them. She has no interest in pursuing a career, and can barely even hold down shitty wage jobs. She’s brash, sometimes crude, and forthright in her sexuality. The film opens on Emilie nude, singing karaoke on a couch, and it’s far from the most vulnerable thing Zhang acts out. She fluidly switches between French, Mandarin, and the occasional English (in interviews, Zhang has spoken of learning on set that Mandarin is her “intimate language” and French is her “intellectual language.”). She throws out harsh, barbed words when she’s upset, melts into a pool of angst and regrets the next second, and dances in a slow motion take through the lobby of her waitress job after that.

    In other words, Zhang plays something of a manic pixie dream girl. But Audiard is too good with actors, and Zhang is too integrated as a performer, even in her nascent stage, to let Emilie lapse into flat, sexist cliche. Even in scenes that feel unavoidably pre-figured by the male gaze, like when Emilie returns to the flat and drunkenly propositions Camille and and his girlfriend for a threesome, Zhang carries herself with a whittled down authenticity that cuts through any artifice. She is the rare young actor, reminiscent of Kristen Stewart or Helena Howard, who powers through uncomfortable material not by leaning on confidence, but on vulnerability. When she agrees to meet Camille for drinks after he’s dumped her in the cold, unfeeling way so characteristic of men his age, she cycles through indifference, girlish animosity, regret, fierce lust, and a wounded desire for reciprocity in a matter of minutes. “You missed me a lot?” she echoes Camille’s words, but drops the manipulative candor for the pure form. She looks hurt, hopeful, and wary at the same time. “I missed you a lot too,” she continues, then getting the better of herself, goes steely—“but not too much.”

    It helps that the screenplay was cowritten by Céline Sciamma (Girlhood, Portrait of a Lady on Fire), one of France’s most poignant observers of women and girls, and Léa Mysius (Ava), whose sophomore feature The Five Devils is set to be a standout of the Director’s Fortnight lineup at this year’s Cannes. Sciamma’s eye for details which enrich the characters while not being “necessary” to the plot shines through, and gives Zhang one of her best scenes. Camille and Nora bring Emilie to the agency to translate for a prospective Taiwanese client. Her natural charisma and indifference toward “sticking to the job” end up clinching the deal when she can’t help but indulge in a digression with the client about her childhood memories of her family’s home in Taiwan. Zhang looks wistful and pensive but also melancholic, and a bit detached, giving the audience a glimpse into the the depth of immigrant and first generation life in Paris, dominant in the 13th arrondissement the film is paying homage to, but for a long time lacking in the cinema of the country.

    Though the it’s a sublime change of pace for Audiard, an exciting step forward for Mysius, who is going to have a big year, having also cowrote Claire Denis’ Cannes Competition contender The Stars at Noon, and another showcase of Noémie Merlant’s luminous talents, Paris, 13th District is undoubtedly Lucie Zhang’s shining moment. The actress has no plans to cease her pursuit of a degree in Economics and Management from the Université Paris Dauphine. But after this breakout, she may have to take a page from Emilie’s book—ride the wave of opportunity, and follow her instincts wherever they lead."


    To access public contact details in the UniFrance directory, please log in (or register on our website).

    News (3)