Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona


Life Story

A citizen of the United States, France and Spain, Helene Cardona speaks English, French, Spanish, German, Greek and Italian. Born in Paris of a Greek mother and Spanish father and raised all over Europe, she studied English Philology and Literature in Cambridge, England; Spanish at the International Universities of Santander and Baeza, Spain; and German at the Goethe Institute in Bremen, Germany. She attended Hamilton College, New York, where she also taught French and Spanish, and the Sorbonne, Paris, where she wrote her thesis on Henry James for her Master's in American Literature.

A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, she also trained with Ellen Burstyn, Sandra Seacat, Sondra Lee and Susan Batson at the Actors' Studio (New York). She performed at the Players Club, The Actors' Studio, and with The Naked Angels and Ubu Theater Companies in New York. She played "Fuffi" Drou in Lasse Hallström's Chocolat (2000), Candy in Lawrence Kasdan's Mumford (1999), and Mrs. Russell in Stealing Roses (2012). Among her many voice characters are Happy Feet Two (2011), The Muppets (2011), and Muppets Most Wanted (2014). She voiced the role of the French Food Critic in The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), a BBC Reporter in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and World War Z (2013), the French Announcer in Jurassic World (2015), and the Android Robotic Computer Voice in Heroes Reborn (2015). For Serendipity (2001), she co-wrote with Peter Chelsom and Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang. TV guest roles include Law & Order, Passions, The Bold and the Beautiful, One Life to Live, The New Adventures of Robin Rood, Another World, and many others. Producing credits include the award-winning documentary Femme (2013) and Pablo Neruda: The People's Poet.


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Graduated from the Music Conservatory in piano in Geneva, Switzerland. Then studied under Maître Pierre Sancan at the Salle Pleyel in Paris.
Helene trained as a dancer at the Music Conservatory in Geneva and the Salle Pleyel in Paris. She danced in Vera Krylova's Dance Company at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and continued training in New York.
Sydney Pollack based the Nicole Kidman character in The Interpreter (2005) in part on Hélène Cardona's life by making her a Sorbonne linguist and a musician.
Helene Cardona's father is José Manuel Cardona, the renowned poet from Ibiza, Spain.
For Serendipity (2001), Hélène Cardona co-wrote with director Peter Chelsom and composer Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang.
Hélène's poetry collection Dreaming My Animal Selves won the USA Best Book Award in Poetry, the Pinnacle Book Award for Best Bilingual Poetry Book and the Readers' Favorite Book Award in Poetry. It was a Finalist for the International Book Awards and the Julie Suk Award.
Hélène Cardona was awarded a Hemingway Grant by The French Ministry of Culture, the Institut Francais, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, for Beyond Elsewhere, her translation of Plus loin qu'ailleurs by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac.
Speaks six languages.
Hélène's poetry collection Life in Suspension won the 2017 International Book Award in Poetry, the 2017 Best Book Award in Poetry, the Pinnacle Book Award for Best Bilingual Poetry Book, and the Readers' Favorite Book Award in Poetry. It was a Finalist for the Lascaux Prize in Poetry and the Julie Suk Award.
Lawrence Kasdan writes about Life in Suspension: "Hélène Cardona's poems explore the roiling mysteries on the indistinct borderlines of spiritual landscapes, natural elements, and singular private visions. Surprising, upsetting and, ultimately, uplifting".
Olympia Dukakis describes Hélène Cardona's Life in Suspension as "Poems that explore whole worlds - embracing and beautiful".
Graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Studied English Philology and Literature in Cambridge, and received a masters in American literature from the Sorbonne, where she wrote her thesis on Henry James. Worked as a translator/interpreter for the Canadian Embassy in Paris.
Chocolat (2000) author Joanne Harris hails Hélène Cardona's Life in Suspension as "A tour de force of language and phonetics; a deeply felt and deeply spiritual collection which explores the universal human experience from a very personal point of view. This is intimate poetry, and yet it transcends the mundane through its lyricism and its glory in language. Hélène Cardona's pen moves from the human to the divine and back in a single sentence, and the result is uplifting and magical".

Personal Quotes 

We are consciousness wanting to expand.
[on Sandra Seacat and dream work] When I trained with Sandra Seacat at the Actors Studio in New York, she introduced me to a particular form of dream work. You could call it Jungian. I have kept doing this work for many years now. It's very therapeutic, a more holistic approach to medicine. And it can also be used to develop a character in a play or movie. You dig into yourself to find the answers. In the dream you are connected to your inner self and to the divine.
I write as a form of self-expression, fulfillment, transcendence, healing, to transmute pain and experience into beauty.
For me, poetry is a process of self revelation, an exploration of hidden dimensions in myself, and it is also at the same time a way to become myself, a process of individuation I try to create throughout my life - a profound experience of the fundamental interconnection of all in the universe. Moreover, writing is cathartic as it extends a search for peace, for serenity, rooted in a desire to transcend and reconcile the fundamental duality I see in life. Ultimately, I seek expansion of consciousness.
Expressing yourself with art... whatever your experiences have been, you put them to use. There is a transformative process, a healing process, and by creating a piece of art, you heal yourself, and then you heal others because they recognize themselves in the stories you tell. And that's the beauty of it. That's why we go to the theater, because it's such a transcendental and therapeutic experience. That's why we go see movies, that's why we love art in general.... The symbols are there. And we respond to symbol and myth. This is the way we tell stories, this is the way we move forward in life...
[on Dreaming My Animal Selves] I've worn many hats over the years: writer, actor, teacher, translator, dancer, shaman, dream analyst. The idea was to give voice to mutable selves through the prism of dreams, myth, legend and fantasy, inhabited by animals, who are a constant in my life. It's also about identity and finding home.
The more we educate ourselves about other cultures, the more we understand one another. We then don't look at "the other" or "the one who is different" or "the foreigner" in fear. People usually fear what they don't understand. And by understanding where we come from we all get to know ourselves.
The ultimate aim is reverence for the universe, love for life, and harmony within oneself.
The sacred dimension of the poetic experience is founded in very concrete reality, a reconciliation of the spiritual and the carnal. It speaks of transformation and seeks the unison of all that lives. Poetry is language for the ineffable, what is impossible to write, the mystery. I seek the light within that mystery. We are stretched to the frontiers of what we know, exploring language and the psyche. The poem is a gesture, a movement, an opening towards a greater truth or understanding. Art brings us to the edge of the incomprehensible. Poetry and life are prayer, enchantment, and transmutation of the being leading to fulfillment. The poems, in their alchemy and geology, are fragments of dreams, enigmas, shafts of light, part myth, and part fable. Mysticism constitutes the experience of what transcends us while inhabiting us. Poetry, as creation, borders on it. It is metaphysical. It offers a new vision of the universe, reveals the soul's secrets and mysteries.


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