I was watching the first episode of 'In Treatment,' an HBO miniseries, when I saw the main actress and thought - besides 'she's really beautiful' - that I knew her somehow. She was eerily familiar, like I'd watched her across a bar one night or had a brief conversation with her in line at a coffee shop.
Of course it turned out that she's a successful actress by the name of Melissa George who I had seen in Mulholland Drive and The Limey among others.
I had the same reaction to her each time, the strange familiarity without immediate recognition.
Part of what makes her so...vaguely compelling...is that she's unusually protean and mutable for a beautiful women, a character actor in the body of a Deneuve. Yet her shifting identity seems as much a creation of the camera - and makeup and costuming - as of her acting ability (although I might not be giving her enough credit). She seems to represent the mystery of cinema in some way, and maybe of desire, like the two women who play the lead in That Obscure Object of Desire.' Oddly enough, a friend said she saw George in In Treatment as well and had the same reaction - so that she too went to IMDB and tracked the actress down.
Now I know what Godard meant when he said that Hollywood 'colonized the imagination.'