An actress whose fragile, almost ethereal beauty belies the grit and single-mindedness she brings to her characters, Natacha Régnier first garnered international attention with her portrayal of the tragically self-destructive Marie in Erick Zonca's La vie rêvée des anges (1998). Born in Belgium on April 11, 1974, Régnier became interested in acting as a young child. During her adolescence, she complemented her studies at municipal drama schools with membership in a number of amateur theatrical troupes and also trained as a singer and dancer. Following a move to Paris, Régnier landed roles in a series of TV dramas and began her film career acting in various short films. Her work in one of these shorts attracted the notice of director Pascal Bonitzer, who cast her in his feature-length drama Encore (1996). In 1998, Régnier had her true breakthrough in Zonca's La vie rêvée des anges, sharing the Best Actress prize at Cannes and the European Film Awards with co-star Élodie Bouchez and winning the Most Promising Young Actress César for her quietly devastating performance. Régnier followed this triumphant breakthrough with a role as a lovelorn young musician in Giacomo Campiotti's Il Tempo Dell'Amore (1999). She then explored the darker side of love and obsession as a bored, vengeful high school student who encounters a few problems while trying to dispose of the body of one of her suitors in Les Amants Criminels (1999), directed by the controversial young filmmaker François Ozon.