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French actress Juliette Binoche is widely regarded as one of film's most respected actresses for the intelligence she has brought to her complex roles.
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In the 1970s Juliette Binoche appeared onstage in Paris, and in the early 1980s she acted in small film roles and on French TV. Her breakthrough came through the play of his Je vous salue, Marie. In 1986 she won the Romy-Schneider Prize. In 1988 she starred in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She experienced a great deal of success in the United States throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
Actress. Born March 9, 1964 in Paris, France. Juliette Binoche is of mixed French and Polish descent—her maternal grandparents were Polish intellectuals who had been imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz during World War II. Her mother, Monique Stalens, was an actress and acting teacher, and her father, Jean-Marie Binoche, was an actor and director. Binoche's parents separated when she was only two years old, and as her parents each pursed their own careers, Juliette and sister Marion were sent to boarding school in the Paris suburbs. "We were not really a family at all," Binoche says. "We were always separate, always moving around." Embittered by her parents' divorce and already disinclined to focus on academics, Binoche struggled badly in school. "It was horrible," she recalls, "but I think it was probably partly what made me who I am. If you have everything, then you don't want to go on. It's the lacking that makes you search for something better."
It was this search for something better than real life that led Binoche, as a young teenager, into the alluring make-believe world of the theater. "Choosing to be in the theatre was a way to put my roots down somewhere with other people," she says. "It was a way to choose a new family." Binoche displayed uncanny natural acting talent, and at the age of 15 she and her sister left boarding school and rented a small apartment in Paris, where Binoche supported herself by landing starring roles in stage productions of Molière and Pirandello. Binoche gained admission into the prestigious French National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Paris, but quickly became frustrated with her fellow students' lack of commitment. "They were not behaving like actors responsible for their lives," she remembers. "I was already having to deal with cooking and shopping and making my own life with my sister, and I felt there was no time to lose."
After only a couple of years training at the National Academy, Binoche began receiving a flood of offers to appear in movies and decided to leave school to pursue a professional full-time film career. She made her big screen debut before she turned 20, in the 1983 film Liberty Belle. Two years later she began to garner widespread attention with a pair of critically acclaimed 1985 films, Hail Mary and Rendez-vous, which won Best Direction at the Cannes Film Festival. Binoche then burst onto the international scene in the 1988 American film, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a screen adaptation of the novel by Czech writer Milan Kundera.
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Explore our collection of Best Supporting Actress Oscar winners, including Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Penelope Cruz, Octavia Spencer, Juliette Binoche, Marisa Tomei and Whoopi Goldberg. View full biographies, photos and videos, only at Biography.com.
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