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Juliette Binoche

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Juliette Binoche

Juliette Binoche
Binoche at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival
Born (1964-03-09) 9 March 1964
Paris, France
Other names "La Binoche"
Occupation Actress, artist, dancer, poet, designer, human rights campaigner
Years active 1983–present
Partner(s) Leos Carax (1986–1991)
Olivier Martinez (1994–1998)
Benoît Magimel (1999–2003)
Santiago Amigorena (2005–2009)
Children 2

Juliette Binoche (French pronunciation: ​; born 9 March 1964) is a French actress, artist and dancer. She has appeared in more than 40 feature films, been recipient of numerous international accolades, is a published author and has appeared on stage across the world. Coming from an artistic background, she began taking acting lessons during adolescence. After performing in several stage productions, she was propelled into the world of auteurs Jean-Luc Godard (Hail Mary, 1985), Jacques Doillon (Family Life, 1985) and André Téchiné, who made her a star in France with the leading role in his 1985 drama Rendez-vous. Her sensual performance in her English-language debut The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), directed by Philip Kaufman, launched her international career.

She sparked the interest of Steven Spielberg, who offered her several parts including a role in Jurassic Park which she declined, choosing instead to join Krzysztof Kieślowski on the set of Three Colors: Blue (1993), a performance for which she won the Venice Film Festival Award for Best Actress and a César. Three years later Binoche gained further acclaim in Anthony Minghella's The English Patient (1996), for which she was awarded an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in addition to the Best Actress Award at the 1997 Berlin Film Festival. For her performance in Lasse Hallström's romantic comedy Chocolat (2000) Binoche was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

During the 2000s she maintained a successful, critically acclaimed career, alternating between French and English language roles in both mainstream and art-house productions. In 2010, she won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy making her the first actress to win the European "Best Actress triple crown" (for the Berlin, Cannes and Venice film festivals).

Throughout her career Binoche has intermittently appeared on stage, most notably in a 1998 London production of Luigi Pirandello's Naked and in a 2000 production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal on Broadway for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. In 2008 she began a world tour with a modern dance production in-i devised in collaboration with Akram Khan. Often referred to as "La Binoche"[1] by the press, her other notable performances include: Mauvais Sang (1986), Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991), Damage (1992), The Horseman on the Roof (1995), Code Unknown (2000), Caché (2005), Breaking and Entering (2006), Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) and Camille Claudel 1915 (2013).

Early life

Binoche was born in Paris, the daughter of Jean-Marie Binoche, a director, actor, and sculptor, and Monique Yvette Stalens, a teacher, director, and actress.[2] Her father, who is French, also has one eighth Portuguese-Brazilian ancestry; he was raised partly in Morocco by his French-born parents.[3][4][5] Juliette's mother was born in Częstochowa, Poland.[6] Binoche's maternal grandfather, Andre Stalens, was born in Poland, of Belgian (Walloon) and French descent, and Binoche's maternal grandmother, Julia Helena Młynarczyk, was of Polish origin.[7] Both of them were actors who were born in Częstochowa; they were imprisoned at Auschwitz, because they were considered to be intellectuals by the Nazi occupiers.[6][8][9]

When Binoche's parents divorced in 1968, four-year-old Binoche and her sister Marion were sent to a provincial boarding school.[10] During their teens, the Binoche sisters spent their school holidays with their maternal grandmother, not seeing either parent for months at a time. Binoche has stated that this perceived parental abandonment had a profound effect on her.[11]

She was not particularly academic[12] and in her teenage years she began acting at school in amateur stage productions. At 17, she directed and starred in a student production of the Eugène Ionesco play, Exit the King. She studied acting at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique (CNSAD), but quit after a short time as she disliked the curriculum.[12] In the early 1980s, she found an agent through a friend and joined a theater troupe with which she toured France, Belgium and Switzerland under the pseudonym "Juliette Adrienne".[13] Around this time she began lessons with the famed acting coach Vera Gregh.[14]

Her first professional screen experience was as an extra in the three part TF1 television series Dorothée, danseuse de corde (1983) directed by Jacques Fensten, which was followed by a similarly small role in the provincial television film Fort bloque directed by Pierrick Guinnard. Following this Binoche secured her first feature film appearance with a minor role in Pascal Kané's Liberty Belle (1983). Her role required just two days on set, but was enough to inspire Binoche to pursue a career in film.[12]



Juliette Binoche in 1985.

Binoche's early films would see her established as a French star of some renown.[10] In 1983, she auditioned for the female lead in Jean-Luc Godard's' controversial Hail Mary, a modern retelling of the Virgin birth.[15] Godard requested a meeting with Binoche having seen a photo of her taken by her boyfriend of the time.[16] She has said that she spent six months on the set of the film in Geneva, although her role in the final cut is contained to only a few scenes.[16][17] Further supporting roles followed in a variety of French films: Annick Lanoë's Les Nanas was to give Binoche her most noteworthy role to date, playing opposite established stars Marie-France Pisier and Macha Meril, in a mainstream comedy.[18] However, she has stated that the experience was not particularly memorable or influential.[19] She gained more significant exposure in Jacques Doillon's critically acclaimed Family Life, which cast her as the volatile teenage step-daughter of Sami Frey's central character. This film was to set the tone of her early career.[20] Doillon has commented that in the original screenplay her character was written to be 14 years old, he was so impressed with Binoche's audition he changed the character's age to 17 to allow her take the role.[19] In April 1985, Binoche followed this with another supporting role in Bob Decout's Adieu Blaireau, a policier thriller starring Philippe Léotard and Annie Girardot. Adieu Blaireau failed to have much impact with critics or audiences.[18]

It was to be later in 1985 that Binoche would fully emerge as a leading actress with her role in André Téchiné's Rendez-vous. She was cast at short notice when Sandrine Bonnaire had to abandon the film due to a scheduling conflict.[21] Rendez-vous premiered at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, winning Best Director. The film was a sensation and Binoche became the darling of the festival.[22] Rendez-Vous is the story of a provincial actress, Nina (Binoche), who arrives in Paris and embarks on a series of dysfunctional liaisons with several men, including the moody, suicidal Quentin (Lambert Wilson). However it is her collaboration with theatre director Scrutzler, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, which comes to define Nina.[23] In a review of Rendez-Vous in Film Comment, Armond White described it as "Juliette Binoche's career defining performance".[24] In 1986, Binoche was nominated for her first César for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the film.[25] Following Rendez-Vous, she was unsure of what role to take next. She auditioned unsuccessfully for Yves Boisset's Bleu comme l'enfer and Robin Davis's Hors la loi,[23] but was eventually cast in My Brother-in-law Killed My Sister (1986) by Jacques Rouffio opposite the popular French stars Michel Serrault and Michel Piccoli. This film was a critical and commercial failure.[26] Binoche has commented that Rouffio's film is very significant to her career as it taught her to judge roles based on the quality of the screenplay and her connection with a director, not on the reputation of other cast members.[27] Later in 1986, she again starred opposite Michel Piccoli in Leos Carax's Mauvais Sang. This film was a critical and commercial success, leading to Binoche's second César nomination. Mauvais Sang is an avant-garde thriller in which she plays Anna the vastly younger lover of Marc (Piccoli) who falls in love with Alex (Denis Lavant), a young thief.[28] Binoche has stated that she, "discovered the camera", while shooting this film.[29]

In August 1986, Binoche began filming Philip Kaufman's adaptation of Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, portraying the young and innocent Tereza.[30] Released in 1988, this was Binoche's first English language role and was a worldwide success with critics and audiences alike[31] Set against the USSR's invasion of Prague in 1968, the film tells the story of the relationships a Czech surgeon, Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis), has with his wife Tereza and his lover Sabina (Lena Olin). Binoche has stated that at the time her English was very limited and that she relied on a French translation to fully grasp her role.[32] After this success, Binoche decided to return to France rather than pursue an international career.[33] In 1988, she filmed the lead in Pierre Pradinas's Un tour de manège, a little-seen French film opposite François Cluzet.[33] She has stated that her attraction to this film was that it gave her the opportunity to work with close friends and family.[12] Pradinas is the husband of her sister Marion Stalens who was set photographer on the film and appeared in a cameo role.[12] In the summer of 1988, Binoche returned to the stage in an acclaimed production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull directed by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky at Théâtre De L'odéon in Paris.[34] Later that year she began work on Léos Carax's Les Amants du Pont-Neuf.[35] The film was beset by problems and took three years to complete, requiring investment from three producers and funds from the French government.[19] When finally released in 1991, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf was a critical success. Binoche won a European Film Award[36] as well as securing her third César nomination for her performance. In the film Binoche portrays an artist who lives rough on the famous Parisian bridge where she meets another young vagrant (Denis Lavant). This iconic part of the city becomes the backdrop for a wildly passionate love story and some of the most visually arresting images of the city ever created.[37] The paintings featured in the film were Binoche's own work.[19] She also designed the French poster for the film which features an ink drawing of the eponymous lovers locked in embrace.[19] During a break in filming in 1990, Binoche spent five days shooting Mara for Mike Figgis, based on Henry Miller's Quiet Days in Clichy. This 30 minute film was part of HBO's anthology series Women & Men 2.[38] The film became somewhat contentious when, according to Mike Figgis, HBO altered it once he had completed it.[39] The film premiered on HBO in the U.S. on 18 August 1991.[40]

At this point, Binoche seemed to be at a crossroads in her career. She was recognized as one of the most significant French actresses of her generation.[41] However, the long production of Les Amants du Pont-Neuf had forced her to turn down several significant roles in international productions including The Double Life of Véronique by Krzysztof Kieślowski, Cyrano de Bergerac by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Night and Day by Chantal Akerman and Beyond the Aegean an aborted project with Elia Kazan.[42] Now Binoche chose to pursue an international career outside France.[19]


Juliette Binoche at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.

The 1990s saw Juliette Binoche inaugurated as a European leading lady in a series of international films that were critical and commercial successes winning Binoche much praise and numerous awards for her performances.[43] This period saw her persona develop from that of a young gamine to a more melancholic, tragic presence. Critics suggested that many of her roles were notable for her almost passive intensity in the face of tragedy and despair.[33] In fact Binoche has nicknamed her characters from this period as her "sorrowful sisters".[44] Following the long shoot of Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, Binoche relocated to London for the 1992 productions of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Damage, both of which considerably enhanced her international reputation.[45] Yet, from a professional and personal point of view, both films were significant challenges for Binoche; her casting opposite Ralph Fiennes's Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, in favour of English actresses Helena Bonham Carter[46] and Kate Beckinsale,[47] was immediately contentious and drew derision from the British press, unimpressed that a uniquely English role had gone to a French actress.[48] The film had its world premiere at the 1992 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Reviews were poor, with Binoche being cynically dubbed "Cathy Clouseau" and being derided for her "franglais" accent.[49] Both Binoche and director Peter Kosminsky distanced themselves from the film, with Binoche refusing to do any promotion for the film or to redub it into French.[50] Damage, a UK and French co-production, is the story of a British conservative minister played by Jeremy Irons who embarks on a torrid affair with his son's fiancée (Binoche). Based on the novel by Josephine Hart and directed by veteran French director Louis Malle, Damage seemed to be the ideal international vehicle for Binoche; however the production was wrought with difficulties and dogged by rumours of serious conflict. In an on-set interview, Louis Malle stated that it was the "most difficult" film he had ever made, while Binoche commented that "the first day was one big argument".[51] Damage opened in the UK late in 1992 and debuted early in 1993 on US screens. Reviews were somewhat mixed.[52] For her performance, Juliette Binoche received her fourth César nomination.

In 1993, she appeared in Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors: Blue to much critical acclaim.[53] The first film in a trilogy inspired by the ideals of the French republic and the colors of its flag, Three Colors: Blue is the story of a young woman who loses her composer husband and daughter in a car accident. Though devastated she learns to cope by rejecting her previous life in favour of conscious "nothing"; rejecting all people, belongings and emotions.[54] Three Colors: Blue premiered at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, landing Binoche the Best Actress Prize. She also won a César, and a nomination for the Golden Globe. Binoche has said her inspirations for the role were her friend and coach Vernice Klier who suffered a similar tragedy, and the book The Black Veil by Anny Duperey which deals with the author's grief at losing her parents at a young age.[55] Binoche made cameo appearances in the other two films in Kieślowski's trilogy, Three Colors: White and Three Colors: Red. Around this time, Steven Spielberg offered her roles in Jurassic Park and Schindler's List. She turned down both parts.[56] After the success of Three Colors: Blue, Binoche took a short sabbatical during which she gave birth to her son Raphaël in September 1993.[57]

In 1995, Binoche returned to the screen in a big-budget adaptation of Jean Giono's The Horseman on the Roof directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau. The film was particularly significant in France as it was at the time the most expensive film in the history of French cinema.[58] The film was a box-office success around the world and Binoche was again nominated for a César for Best Actress. This role, as a romantic heroine, was to color the direction of many of her subsequent roles in the late 1990s.[59] In 1996, Binoche appeared in her first comedic role since My Brother-in-Law Killed My Sister a decade before; A Couch in New York was directed by Chantal Akerman and co-starred William Hurt. This screw-ball comedy tells the story of a New York psychiatrist who swaps homes with a Parisian dancer.[60] The film was a critical and commercial failure.[61] Three Colors: Blue, The Horseman on the Roof and A Couch in New York all gave Binoche the opportunity to work with prestigious directors she had turned down during the prolonged shoot of Les Amants du Pont-Neuf.[19] Her next role would significantly reinforce her position as a bona fide international movie star, The English Patient, based on the prize winning novel by Michael Ondaatje and directed by Anthony Minghella, was a worldwide hit.[62] Produced by Saul Zaentz, producer of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the film reunited Juliette Binoche with Ralph Fiennes, Heathcliff to her Cathy four years previously. Binoche has said that the shoot on location in Tuscany and at the famed Cinecittà in Rome was among the happiest professional experiences of her career.[10] The film, which tells the story of a badly burned, mysterious man found in the wreckage of a plane during World War II, won nine Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Juliette Binoche.[63] With this film, she became the second French actress to win an Oscar, following Simone Signoret's win for Room at the Top in 1960. After this international hit, Binoche returned to France and began work opposite Daniel Auteuil on Claude Berri's Lucie Aubrac, the true story of a French Resistance heroine. Binoche was released from the film six weeks into the shoot due to differences with Berri regarding the authenticity of his script.[64] Binoche has described this event as being like "an earthquake" to her.[10]

Binoche at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

Next Juliette Binoche was reunited with director André Téchiné for Alfred de Musset played by Benoit Magimel. This lavish costume drama was filmed on location in Paris and Venice and featured couture costumes by the renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix.[68] The following year saw Binoche in four contrasting roles, each of which enhanced her reputation. La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (2000) by Patrice Leconte, for which she was nominated for a César for Best Actress, was a period drama which saw Binoche appear opposite Daniel Auteuil in the role of a woman who attempts to save a condemned man from the guillotine.[69] The film won favourable reviews, particularly in the U.S.[70] where it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. The film won the Audience Award at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival[71] Next she appeared in Michael Haneke's Code Unknown, a film which was made following Binoche's approach to the Austrian director.[72] The film premiered in competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.[73] This critically acclaimed role was a welcome change from playing the romantic heroine in a series of costume dramas.[74] Later that year, Binoche made her Broadway debut in an adaptation of Harold Pinter's Betrayal for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. Staged by the Roundabout Theatre Company and directed by David Leveaux, the production also featured Liev Schreiber and John Slattery.[75] Back on screen, Binoche was the heroine of the Lasse Hallström film Chocolat from the best selling novel by Joanne Harris. For her role Binoche won a European Film Audience Award for Best Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA.[76] Chocolat is the story of a mysterious stranger who opens a chocolaterie in a conservative French village in 1959. The film was a worldwide hit.[77]

Between 1995 and 2000, Binoche was the advertising face of the Lancôme perfume Poème, her image adorning print campaigns photographed by Richard Avedon[78] and a television advertising campaign,[79] including an advert directed by Anthony Minghella and scored by Gabriel Yared.[80]

By the end of this period and following roles in a number of prestige productions, critics were wondering if Binoche was typecast as the tragic, despairing muse. In a feature article entitled "The Erotic Face" in the June 2000 edition of British film criticism magazine Sight and Sound, Ginette Vincendeau pondered Binoche's persona; Vincendeau suggested that the fixation of numerous directors upon her face had led to an erasure of her body, and to her being perceived only as a romantic icon rather than a versatile actress.[33]


Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno at Cannes, 2002

Following the success of Chocolat, the early 2000s saw Juliette Binoche internationally recognized as an A-list movie star.[33] However, her persona seemed to be somewhat fixed following a series of period roles where she played the always stoic heroine facing tragedy and desolation.[33] Ever keen to try something new, Binoche returned to French cinema in 2002 in an unlikely role; Jet Lag opposite Jean Reno saw Binoche play a ditzy beautician.[81] The film, directed by Daniele Thompson, was a box-office hit in France and saw Binoche once again nominated for a César for Best Actress.[82] The film tells the story of a couple who meet at an airport during a strike. Initially the pair despises each other, but, over the course of one night, they find common ground and maybe even love. This playful spirit continued when Binoche featured in a 2003 Italian television commercial for the chocolates Ferrero Rocher. The advertisement played upon her Chocolat persona featuring Binoche handing out the chocolates to people on the streets of Paris.[83]

In a more serious vein, Binoche travelled to South Africa to make John Boorman's In My Country (2004) opposite Samuel L. Jackson. Based on the book Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog, the film examines The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings following the abolition of Apartheid in the mid-1990s.[84] Although the film premiered at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival, it received much criticism for the inclusion of a fictional romantic liaison and for its depiction of black South Africans.[85] Despite the negative reception, Binoche was extremely enthusiastic about the film and her connection with Boorman.[86][87] Her sister, Marion Stalens, also travelled to South Africa to shoot a documentary, La reconciliation?, which explores the TRC process and follows Binoche's progress as she acts in Boorman's film.[18] Next, Binoche re-teamed with Michael Haneke for Caché. The film was an immediate success, winning best director for Haneke at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival,[88] while Binoche was nominated for a European Film Award for Best Actress for her role.[89] The film tells the story of a bourgeois Parisian couple, played by Binoche and Daniel Auteuil, who begin to receive anonymous videotapes containing footage shot over long periods, surveying the outside of their home. Caché went on to feature in the number one position on the "Top 10 of the 2000s" list published by The Times at the end of the decade.[90] Binoche's next film, Bee Season, based on the celebrated novel by Myla Goldberg, cast her opposite Richard Gere. The film was not a success at the box office taking less than $5 million worldwide.[91] For many critics the film, although intelligent, was "distant and diffuse".[92] Bee Season depicts the emotional disintegration of a family just as their daughter begins to win national spelling bees. Mary (2005) featured Binoche in a somewhat unlikely collaboration with the controversial American director Abel Ferrara for an investigation of modern faith and Mary Magdalene's position within the Catholic Church.[93] Featuring Forest Whittaker, Matthew Modine and Marion Cotillard, Mary was an immediate success, winning the Grand Prix at the 2005 Venice Film Festival. Despite these accolades and favorable reviews, particularly from the influential cultural magazine Les Inrockuptibles,[94] Mary failed to secure a distributor in key markets such as the US and the UK[95]

The Cannes Film Festival in 2006 saw Binoche feature in the anthology film Paris, je t'aime appearing in a section directed by the Japanese director Nobuhiro Suwa. Suwa's Place des Victoires is the story of a grief-stricken mother who manages to have a final brief moment with her dead son. The segment also features Willem Dafoe and Hippolyte Girardot. Paris, je t'aime was a popular success, taking over $17 million, at the world box-office.[96] In September 2006, Binoche appeared at the Venice Film Festival to launch A Few Days in September, written and directed by Santiago Amigorena. Despite an impressive cast including John Turturro, Nick Nolte and up-coming French star Sara Forestier, the film was a failure. A Few Days in September is a thriller set between 5 and 11 September 2001, in which Binoche plays a French secret service agent, who may, or may not, have information relating to impending attacks on the U.S.[97] The film was the recipient of harsh criticism from the press for its perceived trivialization of the events of 11 September 2001.[98] While promoting the film in the UK, Binoche told an interviewer she believed the CIA and other government agencies must have had foreknowledge of the 11 September attacks, as depicted in the film.[99] Next Binoche traveled to the 2006 Toronto Film Festival for the premiere of Breaking and Entering, her second film with Anthony Minghella in the director's chair, based on his first original screenplay since his break-through film Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991). In Breaking and Entering, Binoche played a Bosnian refugee living in London, while Jude Law co-starred as a well-to-do businessman drawn into her life via an act of deception. In preparation for her role, Binoche travelled to Sarajevo where she met women who had survived the war of the 1990s.[100] Lushly photographed by Benoît Delhomme, Breaking and Entering portrays intersecting lives amongst the flux of urban renewal in inner-city London.[101] Despite the fact that Binoche was praised for her performance, the film did not ring true for critics and failed to find an audience.[102] In a review in Variety, Todd McCarthy writes that, "Binoche, physically unchanged as ever, plays Amira's controlled anguish with skill".[103] Breaking and Entering also featured Robin Wright, Vera Farmiga, Juliet Stevenson, Rafi Gavron and Martin Freeman.

Although Binoche began the decade on a professional high with an Academy Award nomination for Chocolat, she struggled at the beginning of the 2000s to secure roles that did not confine her to the tragic, melancholic persona developed in the 1990s.[104] Despite the huge success of Caché, other high profile films such as In My Country, Bee Season and Breaking and Entering failed critically[105] and commercially,[106] Binoche seemed to be at a crossroads in her career.[107]


2007 was the start of a particularly busy period for Juliette Binoche, one that would see her take on diverse roles in a series of critically acclaimed international movies giving her film career a new impetus, as she shed the restrictions that seemed to have stifled her career in the early part of the decade.[104] The Cannes Film Festival saw the premiere of Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) by the widely acclaimed Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. It was originally conceived as a short film to form part of a 20th anniversary tribute to the Musée D'Orsay, to be produced by Serge Lemoine president of the museum. When that idea failed to find sufficient funding, Hou developed it into a feature length film and secured the necessary financing.[108] The film was well received by international critics and went on to debut around the world early in 2008. Paying homage to Albert Lamorisse's 1957 short The Red Balloon, Hou's film tells the story of a woman's efforts to juggle her responsibilities as a single mother with her commitment to her career as a voice artist. Shot on location in Paris, the film was entirely improvised by the cast.[109] The film was number one on the influential critic J. Hoberman's "Top 10 List" for 2008 published in The Village Voice.[110]

Disengagement by Amos Gitai premiered out-of-competition at the 2007 Venice Film Festival. Co-starring Liron Levo and Jeanne Moreau, Disengagement is a political drama charting the story of a French woman, of Dutch/Palestinian origin, who goes in search of a daughter she abandoned 20 years previously on the Gaza strip. She arrives in Gaza during the 2005 Israeli disengagement.[111] The film won the prestigious Premio Roberto Rossellini[112] and was critically acclaimed, particularly by the eminent Cahiers du Cinema.[113] However the film proved more controversial in Israel where state television station Channel 1 withdrew financial support for the film citing the "left-wing nature of Gitai's films".[114]

In stark contrast, Peter Hedges co-wrote and directed the Disney-produced Dan in Real Life, a romantic comedy featuring Binoche alongside Steve Carell. It was released in October 2007, becoming a popular commercial success in the US, before debuting around the world in 2008. The film grossed over $65 million at the worldwide box-office.[115] Dan in Real Life is the story of a widowed man (Carell) who meets, and instantly falls for, a woman (Binoche), only to discover she is the new girlfriend of his brother. The film also features Dane Cook, Emily Blunt and Diane Weist[116]

Back in France, Binoche was seen to popular and critical success in Paris directed by Cédric Klapisch. Paris is Klapisch's personal ode to the French capital and features an impressive ensemble of French talent, including Romain Duris, Fabrice Luchini and Mélanie Laurent. Paris was one of the most successful French films internationally in recent years, having grossed over $22 million at the world box office.[117] Binoche and Klapisch had originally met on the set of Mauvais Sang in 1986, where Klapisch was working as a set electrician.[118]

Also in France, Summer Hours (2008), directed by Olivier Assayas, is the critically acclaimed story of three siblings who struggle with the responsibility of disposing of their late mother's valuable art collection. The film premiered in France in March 2008 and had its U.S. debut at the 2008 New York Film Festival, before going on general release in the U.S. on 19 May 2009. Widely acclaimed, the film was nominated for the Prix Louis Delluc in France and appeared on numerous U.S. "Top 10 lists", including first place on David Edelstein's "Top 10 of 2009" list in New York Magazine, and J.R. Jones's list in the Chicago Reader.[119] Summer Hours also features Charles Berling, Jérémie Renier and Édith Scob.

In the autumn of 2008, Binoche starred in a theatrical dance production titled in-i, co-created with renowned choreographer Akram Khan. The show, a love story told through dance and dialogue, featured stage design by Anish Kapoor and music by Philip Sheppard. It premiered at the National Theatre in London before embarking on a world tour.[120] Writing in The Australian, John McCallum wrote that, "Binoche has radiant presence as an actor, her dancing is relaxed and naturalistic", while The Sunday Times in the UK commented that, "Binoche's physical achievement is incredible: Khan is a master mover". The production was part of a 'Binoche Season' titled Ju'Bi'lations, also featuring a retrospective of her film work and an exhibition of her paintings, which were also published in a bilingual book Portraits in Eyes.[121] The book featured ink portraits of Binoche as each of her characters and of each director she had worked with up to that time. She also penned a few lines to each director.[122]

In April 2006 and again in December 2007, Binoche travelled to Tehran at the invitation of Abbas Kiarostami.[123] While there in 2007, she shot a cameo appearance in his film Shirin (2008) which he was shooting at the time. Binoche's visit proved controversial when two Iranian MPs raised the matter in parliament, advising more caution be exercised in granting visas to foreign celebrities which might lead to "cultural destruction".[124] In June 2009 Binoche began work on Certified Copy directed by Kiarostami.[125] The film was an Official Selection in competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[126] Binoche won the Best Actress Award at the festival for her performance. The film went on general release in France on 19 May 2010 to very positive reviews.[127] Her win at the 2010 Cannes Film festival makes Binoche the first actress to win the European "best actress triple crown": Best Actress at Venice for Three Colors: Blue, Best Actress at Berlin for The English Patient and Best Actress at Cannes for Certified Copy. The September 2010 UK release of the film was overshadowed when French actor Gérard Depardieu made disparaging comments about Binoche to the Austrian magazine Profil, "Please can you explain to me what the mystery of Juliette Binoche is meant to be?" he said. "I would really like to know why she has been so esteemed for so many years. She has nothing – absolutely nothing".[128] In response, while promoting Certified Copy, Binoche spoke to movie magazine Empire saying, "I don't know him. I understand you don't have to like everyone and you can dislike someone's work. But I don't understand the violence [of his statements]... I do not understand why he is behaving like this. It is his problem."[129] Certified Copy proved to be controversial in Kiarostami's homeland when Iranian authorities announced on 27 May 2010 that the film was to be banned in Iran, apparently due to Binoche's attire; Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamaqdari is quoted as saying, "If Juliette Binoche were better clad it could have been screened but due to her attire there will not be a general screening."[130]

David Cronenberg, Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche at the premiere of Cosmopolis at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

Following the success of Certified Copy, Binoche appeared in a brief supporting role in The Son of No One for American writer and director Dito Montiel. The film also stars Channing Tatum, Al Pacino and Ray Liotta. The Son of No One premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival to fairly negative reaction.[131] It was acquired by Anchor Bay Entertainment for distribution in the US and other key territories arriving in selected US cinemas on 4 November 2011.[132] As of December 2011, according to film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Son of No One is Juliette Binoche's least critically successful film, with only 18% of critics giving it a positive review.[133]

In June 2010, Binoche started work on Elles for Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska. Elles, produced under the working title Sponsoring,[134][135] is an examination of teenage prostitution with Juliette Binoche playing a journalist for ELLE. The film was released in France on 1 February 2012.[136] On 12 January 2011, Variety announced that Juliette Binoche would star in Another Woman's Life loosely based on the novel La Vie d'une Autre by Frédérique Deghelt.[137] Released in France on 15 February 2012, the film is the directorial debut of the French actress Sylvie Testud and co-stars actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz. Another Woman's Life is the story of Marie (Binoche) a young woman who meets and spends the night with Paul (Kassovitz). When she wakes up, she discovers that 15 years have passed. Withs no memory of these years she learns she has acquired an impressive career, a son and a marriage to Paul which seems headed for divorce. The film met with generally mixed reviews in France.[138]

On 17 February 2011, Screendaily announced that Binoche had been cast in David Cronenberg's film Cosmopolis with Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Mathieu Amalric, and Samantha Morton.[139] Binoche appeared in a supporting role as a New York art dealer, Didi Fancher, who is having an affair with Pattinson's Eric Packer. The film, produced by Paulo Branco, began principal photography on 24 May 2011 and was released in 2012, following a competition slot at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[140] Cosmopolis received mixed reviews from critics.[141] August 2012 saw the French release of An Open Heart opposite Edgar Ramirez and directed by Marion Laine. Based on the novel Remonter l’Orénoque by Mathias Énard, the film is the story of the obsessive relationship between two highly successful surgeons. The film depicts the impact of an unexpected pregnancy and alcoholism on their relationship.[142] The second film directed by Laine, An Open Heart met with tepid reviews in France and poor box office receipts.[143]


The 2013 Berlin Film Festival saw the release of Bruno Dumont's Camille Claudel 1915, a drama which recounts three days during the thirty years French artist Camille Claudel (Binoche) spent in a mental asylum despite the fact that she had not been diagnosed with any malady. The film examines Claudel's fight to maintain her sanity and find creative inspiration while awaiting a visit from her brother, the poet Paul Claudel. The film received excellent reviews with Binoche in particular gaining excellent reviews for her performance.[144]

Following this Binoche has completed work on A Thousand Times Good Night for director Erik Poppe in which she plays a war photographer, the romantic drama Words and Pictures with Clive Owen from veteran director Fred Schepisi. She co-starred in Gareth Edwards' Godzilla, which was theatrically released in May 2014. August 2013 saw Binoche reunite with Olivier Assayas for Clouds of Sils Maria. The film written especially for Binoche also featured Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz. The film had its debut at Cannes 2014.[145] Following this role Binoche is slated to appear in Nobody Wants the Night by Isabel Coixet which was due to begin shooting late in 2013.

"I don't look back on the past because I like to live in the present. I know this makes some people think I probably never cared, but I need my freedom and I like to keep moving." - Juliette Binoche[146]

Personal life

Binoche has two children: a son Raphaël (born on 2 September 1993), whose father is André Halle, a professional scuba diver, and a daughter Hana (born on 16 December 1999), whose father is actor Benoît Magimel, with whom Binoche starred in the 1999 film Children of the Century. Her sister, Marion Stalens, born 1960, is a professional photographer with Corbis, as well as a director of documentary films, including; La réconciliation?, a documentary shot on the set of John Boorman's film In My Country,[18] The Actress and the Dancer, exploring the genesis of Binoche's dance show in-i[147] and Juliette Binoche - Sketches for a Portrait a documentary which follows Binoche as she paints the portraits that would later appear in her book Portraits in Eyes.[148]

Her half-brother Camille Humeau (born 1978) is an acclaimed musician and has been part of the line-up of Oncle Strongle,[149][150] before top-lining the group Artichaut Orkestra.[151] In 2007, he appeared in a stage production of Cabaret directed by Sam Mendes.[50] Stage director Pierre Pradinas is married to her sister Marion.[12]

Charitable work

Since 1992 Binoche is a patron of the French Reporters Without Borders. In 2002, she presided over "Photos of Stars" with Thierry Ardisson. Nearly 100 French stars were given disposable cameras, which were then auctioned, the buyer then having the exclusive photos taken by the star developed.[153]

Political views and activism

Juliette Binoche in one of the Very Large Telescope enclosures.[154]

In April 2002, Binoche and several other French stars including Catherine Deneuve and Mathieu Kassovitz attended a "protest picnic" to object to the firing of Canal+ chairman Pierre Lescure by the Vivendi Universal company.[155]

On 7 February 2006, Binoche attended a high profile demonstration organised by Reporters Without Borders in support of Jill Carroll and two Iraqi journalists who had been abducted in Baghdad.[156]

She supported José Bové in the 2007 French presidential elections which were won by Nicolas Sarkozy.[157] She disclosed on a number of occasions that she did not approve of the Sarkozy administration, stating that the president was creating a monarchic republic.[158][159]

Binoche and numerous other French personalities including Isabelle Adjani, Yvan Attal, Jane Birkin and Josiane Balasko joined Réseau Education Sans Frontieres (RESF) on 7 January 2010 with a symbolic "cake of solidarity" to highlight the taxation and legitimacy issues being faced by undocumented workers in France.[160]

Binoche was a signatory to a June 2010 petition organized by Reporters Without Borders and Shirin Ebadi to protest against the detention of numerous people, including members of the press, who were protesting the occasion of the first anniversary of the disputed re-election of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[161]

At the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Binoche spoke out against the detention of Iranian director Jafar Panahi, incarcerated in Teheran's Evin Prison since 1 March 2010 without charge or conviction. At the press conference following the press screening of Copie Conforme, Binoche was informed that Panahi had begun a hunger strike.[162] The following day Binoche attended a press conference called especially to demand the release of Panahi. Also in attendance were Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Gilles Jacob. Binoche read a letter which pointed out that Panahi's detention was "unwarranted and intolerable". When Binoche was awarded the Best Actress award at the festival, brandishing his name on a placard, she used her speech as an opportunity to raise Panahi's plight once again.[163] On 25 May it was announced that Panahi had been released on bail. It was generally agreed that the publicity Binoche and Kiarostami elicited for his case was a strong factor in his release.[162] On 20 December 2010 Panahi, after being prosecuted for "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country's national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic," was handed a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country. Binoche continues to lobby on his behalf.[164]

Filmography and awards

List of acting performances in film and television
Year Title Role Director Notes
1983 Dorothée, danseuse de corde Minor role Jacques Fansten TV Movie
Liberty belle Girl at the rally Pascal Kané
1985 Le Meilleur de la vie Veronique's friend Renaud Victor
Rendez-vous Nina / Anne Larrieux André Téchiné Nominated - César Award for Best Actress
Farewell Blaireau Brigitte Bob Decout
Family Life Natacha Jacques Doillon
Nanas, LesLes Nanas Antoinette Annick Lanoë
Hail Mary Juliette Jean-Luc Godard
Fort bloqué Nicole Pierrick Guinard TV Movie
1986 Bad Blood Anna Leos Carax Nominated - César Award for Best Actress (x2)
My Brother-in-law Killed My Sister Esther Bouloire Jacques Rouffio
1988 Unbearable Lightness of Being, TheThe Unbearable Lightness of Being Tereza Philip Kaufman
1989 tour de manège, UnUn tour de manège Elsa Pierre Pradinas
1991 Amants du Pont-Neuf, LesLes Amants du Pont-Neuf Michèle Stalens Leos Carax (x2) European Film Award for Best Actress
Sant Jordi Awards for Best Foreign Actress
Nominated - César Award for Best Actress (x3)
Women & Men 2 Mara Walter Bernstein
Mike Figgis
TV Movie
1992 Damage Anna Barton Louis Malle Nominated - César Award for Best Actress (x4)
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights Cathy Linton / Catherine Earnshaw Peter Kosminsky
1993 Three Colors: Blue Julie Vignon de Courcy Krzysztof Kieślowski César Award for Best Actress
Volpi Cup and Pasinetti Award - Venice International Film Festival
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
1994 Three Colors: White Julie Vignon de Courcy Krzysztof Kieślowski
Three Colors: Red Julie Vignon de Courcy Krzysztof Kieślowski
1995 Horseman on the Roof, TheThe Horseman on the Roof Pauline de Théus Jean-Paul Rappeneau Nominated - César Award for Best Actress (x6)
1996 English Patient, TheThe English Patient Hana Anthony Minghella Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
European Film Award for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Silver Bear for Best Actress
Cabourg Romantic Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated - Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Couch in New York, AA Couch in New York Beatrice Saulnier Chantal Akerman
1998 Alice and Martin Alice André Téchiné (x2)
1999 Children of the Century George Sand Diane Kurys
2000 Chocolat Vianne Rocher Lasse Hallström European Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Code Unknown Anne Laurent Michael Haneke
Widow of Saint-Pierre, TheThe Widow of Saint-Pierre Pauline Patrice Leconte Nominated - César Award for Best Actress (x7)
2002 Jet Lag Rose Danièle Thompson Nominated - César Award for Best Actress (x8)
2004 In My Country Anna Malan John Boorman
2005 Mary Marie Palesi / Mary Magdalene Abel Ferrara
Bee Season Miriam Scott McGehee
David Siegel
Caché Anne Laurent Michael Haneke (x2) Nominated - European Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated - London Film Critics Circle Award for Actress of the Year
2006 Breaking and Entering Amira Anthony Minghella (x2) Nominated - British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
Few Days in September, AA Few Days in September Irène Montano Santiago Amigorena
Paris, je t'aime Suzanne Nobuhiro Suwa Segment "Place des Victoires"
2007 Dan in Real Life Marie Peter Hedges
Disengagement Ana Amos Gitai
Flight of the Red Balloon Suzanne Hou Hsiao-Hsien
2008 Paris Elise Cédric Klapisch
Summer Hours Adrienne Olivier Assayas
Shirin Woman in audience Abbas Kiarostami
2010 Certified Copy Elle Abbas Kiarostami (x2) Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Hawaii International Film Festival - Best Actress
2011 The Son of No One Loren Bridges Dito Montiel
Mademoiselle Julie Mademoiselle Julie Frédéric Fisbach
Nicolas Klotz
TV Movie
Elles Anne Małgorzata Szumowska
2012 Cosmopolis Didi Fancher David Cronenberg
Another Woman's Life Marie Speranski Sylvie Testud
An Open Heart Mila Marion Laine
2013 Camille Claudel 1915 Camille Claudel Bruno Dumont Nominated - International Cinephile Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Lumières de la presse étrangère for Best Actress
A Thousand Times Good Night Rebecca Erik Poppe
2014 Words and Pictures Dina Delsanto Fred Schepisi
Godzilla Sandra Brody Gareth Edwards
Clouds of Sils Maria Maria Enders Olivier Assayas (x2)
2015 The 33 María Segovia Patricia Riggen Post-Production
Nobody Wants the Night Josephine Peary Isabel Coixet Post-Production
The Wait Piero Messina Post-Production
Sisters Malgorzata Szumowska (x2) Announced
Horizontal Process Abbas Kiarostami (x3) Pre-Production

Other awards




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