I’ve loved Nastassja Kinski since the early 80’s. She had the beauty of Ingrid Bergman mixed with an animal sexuality that gets a teenager boy’s attention. And though I’d seen her in Tess, I didn’t know how deep my love for Nastassja was until I saw Paul Shrader’s underrated and underappreciated Cat People.
I don’t classify Cat People as a guilty pleasure because it is, in fact, a compelling story of a young woman wrestling with her own sexuality and needs. The fact that she turns into a black panther after making love doesn’t detract from Kinski’s ability to infuse her portrayal of character Irene’s pathos with genuine confusion and fear. Then, to evolve into a confident and empowered woman in the end is truly an acting tour de force.
I fear that Nastassja has gotten a bad rap for all the nudity in Cat People and many other roles she portrayed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Of course, I’m not going to complain that this lovely woman has the courage and conviction of her roles to show us her beautiful body. Both my teenage-self back in the 80s and today would like to publicly thank Nastassja for sharing her beautiful curves in addition to her acting chops. I just wish she’d gotten better roles along the way.
Like many actresses, Nastassja was confined to doing a lot of crap, and is primarily remembered today for being in that “CAT” movie. But to take her whole acting career into account, is to see a very talented actress who didn’t mind showing everything. And for that, I’ll always love her.