10 Foreign-Language Actors You Should Know

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Ronit Elkabetz

Born in 1964 to a conservative Moroccan Jewish household, Ronit Elkabetz probably never imagined she would become one of world cinema’s most highly regarded actors. This striking beauty actually started out as a model, but thankfully for us, she soon found her calling after a fateful reading of the script for The Appointed, her debut role in 1990. 25 years later, she’s now known as “the face of Israeli cinema”, with an impressive filmography that has garnered her 8 Ophir nominations for her acting (winning 3 of them). Elkabetz is also an accomplished director and writer, having collaborated with her brother Shlomi on an acclaimed trilogy of films – To Take A Wife, 7 Days and Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem – which depict the course of a tumultuous marriage. She shines brightest on screen however, with a particular knack for playing regular working-class women with a fierce sense of self-worth. Whether she’s playing a struggling prostitute or a benevolent owner of a small restaurant, she manages to get to the heart and soul of her characters, making them feel palpably real. She is truly one of Israel’s national treasures.

Where you’ll see her next: Her latest film Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem was released on February 13th in the US and is now playing in select theaters.

Other fun facts: Elkabetz was the subject of a 2010 documentary by Nir Bergman titled A Stranger in Paris.