Paris, Jan 17. -Venus Noire, a raw French film by Adbellatif Kechiche, became a launch pad to fame for first-time Cuban actress Yahima Torres, who won Most Promising Actress at the 16th annual Lumiere Awards.
The news was too much of a surprise, because the young woman, who lives in Paris, had received praise from French critics and also at the Venice Film Festival.
"It is all like a dream and a miracle, although it also meant much dedication and sacrifice on my part," she told reporters.
"I am from a country of solidarity, and I feel like the voice of the Cuban people here in Paris," she added.
Venus Noire is a depiction of the tragic real-life story of South African Saartje Baartman, whose hyptertrophied genitals made her an object of attention by scientific, artistic and bourgeois circles in Europe who abused her and treated her like an animal.
Yahima Torres came to France in 2003, invited by friends to teach Spanish, and in her neighbourhood, Belleville, she accidentally ran into the director Kechiche, previously known for his films The Secret of the Grain and Games of Love and Chance.
Four years later, he called her for the casting of Venus Noire and she immediately got the parat.
Torres, who had never acted before, said she took classes in theater, African dance, singing and violin; learned Afrikaans, and gained almost 30 pounds to play the part of Saartje Baartman. (Prensa Latina)