Paris, France, 9 March 1965.
Attended acting school in the late 1970s and later took classes at the
Son with André Halle: Raphael.
1983—film debut in
; 1988—international success with
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
; on stage in Paris in Chekhov's
; mid-1990s—Lancôme model for the fragrance Pôeme.
Best Actress Award, Venice Film Festival, for
Intertalent Agency, 131 South Rodeo Drive, Suite 300, Beverly Hills, CA
Liberty Belle (Kane)
Les Nanas ( The Women ) (Lanoe)
Je vous salue, Marie ( Hail Mary ) (Godard) (as Juliette); La Vie de famille ( Family Life ) (as Natacha); Rendez-vous (Téchiné) (as Nina Larrieu)
Mauvais Sang ( The Night Is Young ; Bad Blood ) (Carax) (as Anna); Mon Beau-frère a tué ma soeur ( My Brother-in-Law Has Killed My Sister ) (as Esther)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kaufman) (as Tereza)
Un Tour de manège ( Roundabout ) (as Elsa)
Les Amants du Pont Neuf ( The Lovers on the Pont-Neuf )(Carax) (as Michele); Women & Men II ( Women & Men: In Love There Are No Rules ) (Bernstein, Figgis, and Zea—for TV) (as Mara)
Wuthering Heights (Kosminsky—not released in U.S.) (as Catherine Earnshaw); Fatale ( Damage ) (Malle) (as Anna Barton)
Trzy Kolory: Niebieski ( Bleu ; Blue ) (Kieślowski) (as Julie); Trzy Kolory: Czerwony ( Blanc ; White ) (Kieślowski) (cameo as Julie)
Trzy Kolory: Bialy ( Rouge ; Red ) (Kieślowski) (cameo as Julie)
Le Hussard sur le toit ( The Horseman on the Roof ) (as Pauline de Theus)
The English Patient (Minghella) (as Hanna); Lucie Aubrac (Berri); Un Divan a New York ( A Couch in New York )(Akerman) (as Beatrice Saulnier)
Alice et Martin (Téchiné) (as Alice)
Les Enfants du siécle (Kurys) (as George Sand)
Interview with Josephine Hart, in Interview (New York), December 1992.
"Juliette Speaks . . .," interview with Maro Sorrenti, in Harper's Bazaar (New York), November 1995.
Andrew, Geoff, "Modesty Blaze," in Time Out (London), 3 January 1996.
Kavanagh, Julie, and Nick Briggs, "Binoche, by Gosh," in Vanity Fair (New York), May 1992.
Riding, Alan, "Juliette Binoche Plays a Riddle without a Solution," in New York Times , 20 December 1992.
Sight and Sound (London), September 1993.
Reilly, Anthony, "Bluebelle," in Premiere (New York), January 1994.
London Observer , 31 December 1995.
Seesslen, Georg, "Juliette Binoche: Skizzen auf dem Weg zur Freiheit," in EPD Film (Frankfurt), July 1997.
* * *
Juliette Binoche was introduced to French theater at the age of 12 by her actress-writer mother, with whom her acting studies began. Her father is a former mime who creates masks for the theater. Her parents separated when she was two years old, and she believes she was drawn into the theater because it represented a family. While better known for her film roles, Binoche remains tied to the theater where she began her career (she appeared on stage in Paris in 1988 in Chekov's The Seagull , directed by Andrei Konchalovsky).
Binoche was urged to audition for films when she was 18 by a casting director who helped her get some bit parts. Despite her success at an early age, Binoche did not emerge overnight. After studying acting for several years she performed in stage productions in the early 1980s and in some television films. Her first film roles followed: in Pascal Kane's Liberty Belle ; a small part in Jean-Luc Godard's Hail Mary , with her youthful innocence as her selling point; and a more substantial role in Annick Lanoe's Les Nanas .
She met the director Léos Carax in 1985, starred in his thriller Mauvais Sang , and began to undergo a transformation. They moved in together and this relationship dominated her professional and emotional life for four years. Carax molded Binoche for the role of Anna in Mauvais Sang , requiring her to adopt a gamin look and to lose weight. She studied dance and voice, read Balzac, and even changed her laugh. (Later Carax would cast Binoche as the one-eyed, guntoting painter, Michele, in Les Amants du Pont Neuf , an unsuccessful, $30 million film which proved to be the most expensive thus far in French history.)
Later in the 1980s she reached international fame with her English-language debut, The Unbearable Lightness of Being , based on the Milan Kundera novel, playing a sexual free spirit. In her next two widely seen roles—in Louis Malle's Damage and Blue , the first film of Krzysztof Kieślowski's Trzy Kolory trilogy—Binoche was not free spirited at all, but rather gave exceptionally passive and solemn portrayals, too detached for many observers. Binoche had turned down the female lead in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (played by Laura Dern), to star in Blue —likely a smart move given how difficult it is to imagine her in such an action-filled thriller at this stage of her career.
In her latest film to date, A Couch in New York , the first major film of Belgian director Chantal Akerman, Binoche changed her image again—away from the serious, sad beauty—toward a lighter character sans the once-in-vogue anguish that pervaded her earlier characters. Whether this welcome transformation is successful will go a long way toward determining the future direction of a still young career.