Juliette Binoche, born 9 March 1964)
is a French actress, who has appeared in more than 40 films since 1983.
While starting on the stage during her teens, Binoche had a dramatic
education. She found her success in French cinema but gained international
acclaim for her portrayal in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), and
won a César Award for Best Actress in Three Colors: Blue (1993). Also she
received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The English
Patient (1996). Other notable performances include Chocolat (2000), Caché
(2005), The Flight of the Red Balloon (2007).
Binoche was born in Paris, the daughter of Jean-Marie Binoche, a director,
actor, and sculptor, and Monique Stalens, a teacher, director, and
actress. Binoche's mother is of Polish descent, and her maternal
Polish-Catholic grandparents were imprisoned at Auschwitz because they
were intellectuals. Binoche also has French, Flemish, Brazilian and
Moroccan ancestry. Her parents divorced when she was four and Binoche and
her sister Marion were sent to a boarding school.
Binoche began acting in amateur stage productions, and at 17 directed and
starred in a student production of the Eugène Ionesco play, Exit the King.
The next year, she studied acting at the National Conservatory of Dramatic
Arts of Paris (CNSAD). She found an agent through a friend and joined a
theatre troupe in which she toured France, Belgium and Switzerland under
the pseudonym of "Juliette Adrienne".
After quitting the CNSAD, she began acting lessons with famed coach Vera
Gregh. Following in her mother's footsteps, she became a stage actress,
occasionally taking small parts in French feature films. Her first screen
role was a small part in the 1983 television film Dorothée, danseuse de
corde by Jacques Fensten, which was followed by a similarly small role in
the provincial television film Fort bloque by Pierrick Guinnard. After
Binoche secured her first big screen appearance with a small supporting
role in Pascal Kané's Algeria-themed Liberty Belle, she decided to pursue
a career in cinema.
Binoche's early films saw her firmly established as a French star of some
renown. The recurring themes of these films were of contemporary young
women exploring their lives and their sexuality. Small roles in Les Nanas
and Adieu blaireau led to more significant exposure in Jean-Luc Godard's
Je vous salue, Marie and Jacques Doillon's La Vie de Famille which cast
her as the teenage stepdaughter of Sami Frey's character. This film was to
set the theme and tone of the early career.
In 1985, Binoche secured the lead role in André Téchiné's Rendez-vous. The
film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year, winning Best
Director. In 1986, Binoche was nominated for her first César Award for
Best Actress for the film. Binoche's next film was a role in Mon
beau-frère a tué ma soeur by Jacques Rouffio, which was a critical and
commercial failure. Later that year, she starred opposite Michel Piccoli
in Léos Carax's Mauvais Sang. This film, however, was a critical and
commercial success, leading to Binoche's second César Award nomination. In
August 1986, she portrayed Tereza in Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable
Lightness of Being based on the Milan Kundera novel. This was Binoche's
first English language role and was a worldwide success with critics and
audiences alike. After this success, Binoche decided to return to France
rather than pursue an international career.
In 1988, she filmed the lead in Pierre Pradinas's Un tour de manège, a
little-seen French film. Later that year she began work on Léos Carax's
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. The film was beset by problems and took three
years to complete. When it was released in 1991, The Lovers on the Bridge
was a critical success. Binoche won a European Film Award for best actress
as well as her third César Award nomination.
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.
For Damage Binoche received her fourth César Award nomination. In 1993,
she appeared in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Blue to much critical
acclaim. The film premiered at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, landed
Binoche a Prize in Venice, a César Award for Best Actress, and a Golden
Globe nomination. After this success, she took a short sabbatical during
which she gave birth to her son, Raphael.
In 1995, Binoche appeared in a big-budget adaptation of Jean Giono's The
Horseman on the Roof directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau. The film was a
box-office success around the world and Binoche was again nominated for a
César Award for Best Actress. This role as a romantic heroine was to color
the direction of many of her roles in the late 1990s.
In 1996, Binoche appeared in A Couch in New York by Chantal Akerman. The
film was a flop, but her next film was The English Patient, which was
based on the acclaimed novel by Michael Ondaatje and directed by Anthony
Minghella. The English Patient was a worldwide hit. It received nine
Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Binoche. With this
film, she became the second French cinema actress to win an Oscar. She
said in her acceptance speech that it was such a surprise, and that she
had thought fellow nominee Lauren Bacall was going to win; she started to
thank people, but only got past her director Anthony Minghella before
laughing that it "must be a dream... a French dream!"
After this international hit, Binoche returned to France and began work
opposite Daniel Auteuil on Claude Berri's Lucie Aubrac, which was based on
a true story. However, Binoche was released from this film six weeks into
the shoot, over differences with Berri regarding the authenticity of his
script. Next she worked again with André Téchiné on Alice et Martin
(1998), followed in 1999 by Children of the Century in which she played
19th-century French writer George Sand.
2000 saw Binoche in four successful, but different, roles. Firstly was La
Veuve de Saint-Pierre by Patrice Leconte for which she was nominated for a
César Award for best actress. Next she appeared in Michael Haneke's Code
Unknown, a film which was made following Binoche's approach to the
Austrian director. Binoche made her Broadway debut in Harold Pinter's
Betrayal for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. Back on screen,
Binoche was the heroine of the Lasse Hallstrom film Chocolat for which she
won a European Film Award for Best Actress and was nominated for an
Academy Award and a BAFTA.
Between 1995 and 2000, Binoche was the advertising face of the Lancôme
scent Poème, her image adorning print campaigns and a TV advertising
campaign. There were three commercials featuring Binoche for the perfume,
including an advert directed by Anthony Minghella and scored by Gabriel
Following the success of Chocolat, Juliette Binoche returned to France for
an unlikely role. Jet Lag (2002) opposite Jean Reno saw Binoche play a
ditzy beautician. The film was a box-office hit in France and saw Binoche
once again nominated for a César Award for best actress. In 2003, Binoche
featured in an Italian TV commercial for the chocolates Ferrero Rocher.
This ad played upon her Chocolat persona and featured Binoche handing
Rochers to people on the streets of Paris. Next Binoche went to South
Africa to film John Boorman's In My Country (2004) opposite Samuel L.
Binoche then teamed up with Michael Haneke again for Caché in 2005. The
film was an immediate success, winning best director at the 2005 Cannes
Film Festival. Binoche was nominated for a European Film Award for Best
Actress for her role. Binoche's next film was Bee Season with Richard
Gere. Mary (2005) saw Binoche collaborate with Abel Ferrara for an
investigation of modern faith and Mary Magdalene's position in the
Catholic Church. The film was an immediate success, winning the Grand Prix
at the 2005 Venice Film Festival.
2006 saw Binoche take part in the portmanteau work Paris, je t'aime
appearing in a section directed by Nobuhiro Suwa. Binoche appeared at the
2006 Venice Film Festival to launch A Few Days in September, by Santiago
Amigorena. Later in the month she traveled to the Toronto Film Festival
for the premiere of Breaking and Entering, her second film with Anthony
Minghella in the director's chair, where she played opposite Jude Law as a
Bosnian refugee in London.
2007 was one of Binoche's busiest years. The Cannes Film Festival saw the
premiere of Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge by the Taiwanese director Hou
Hsiao-Hsien. The film was well received by international critics and went
on to debut around the world in early 2008. Dan in Real Life a romantic
comedy opposite Steve Carell was released in October 2007, becoming a
popular commercial success. Back in France Binoche was seen to popular and
critical success in Paris by Cédric Klapisch, L'Heure D'été by Olivier
Assayas and Disengagement by Amos Gitai. In the Autumn of 2008 Binoche
appeared in a theatrical dance production titled in-i with Akram Khan,
which featured stage design by Anish Kapoor and music by Philip Sheppard
premiering at the National Theatre in London before moving to New York,
L.A., Sydney and Paris. In June 2009 Binoche began work on Copie Conforme
for Abbas Kiarostami. At the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Binoche revealed
that she was developing projects with Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Jia Zhangke and
Jiang Wen. In February 2010, Binoche will begin shooting Sponsoring for
Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska. The film tells the story of a
Parisian journalist investigating prostitution.
Binoche has two children: Raphaël (born on 2 September 1993), whose father
is André Halle, a professional scuba diver, and Hana (born on 16 December
1999), whose father is actor Benoît Magimel, with whom Binoche starred in
the 1999 film Children of the Century. Binoche was romantically involved
with Argentine writer/director Santiago Amigorena between 2005 and 2008.
She previously had romantic relationships with Leos Carax and Olivier
Martinez, and brief relationship with Daniel Day Lewis.
In the 1991 film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, in which Binoche portrays an
artist, the paintings used in the film were Binoche's own work. She also
designed the poster for the film.
In 1993, Binoche exhibited work done in collaboration with the French
designer and artist Christian Fenouillat. They plan to collaborate again
in the future and are currently working on pieces themed by Cinema.
In November 2008, Juliette Binoche published a bilingual large format book
entitled "Juliette Binoche, Portraits In-Eyes". The book contains large
full page portraits of each director she has worked with as well as self
portraits of her as each character. Binoche also wrote a few lines
dedicated to each director. The book was published by French house
"Editions Place des Victoires"