Juliette Binoche biography
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.
Despite her rising profile in the United States, Binoche turned down high-profile roles in American blockbusters such as Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible to focus her career on French art films. She explains, "I have said no to Hollywood roles where I've been asked to play a secret agent—always small roles where they are seductive stereotypes." Instead, she chose to star in the highly acclaimed, if lower-grossing, 1991 film The Lovers on the Bridge (1991), and later won the César Award for Best Actress for the 1992 film Damage. Binoche also starred in the Three Colors trilogy (1993-1994), winning a Best Actress trophy at the Venice Film Festival for her role in the first installment, Blue.
Binoche's international popularity and critical acclaim soared to new heights with her performance in director Anthony Minghella's 1996 film The English Patient. Binoche portrayed Hana, a French-Canadian nurse looking after the critically wounded Hungarian geographer Laszlo Almásy in an abandoned monastery. The film won nine Academy Awards, including Binoche's Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Following her performance in The English Patient, Binoche again retreated from the spotlight, appearing on stage in a 1997 London production of Naked and a 2000 Broadway production of Betrayal as well as several French films. She then returned to international prominence to display her considerable comedic gifts opposite Johnny Depp in the blockbuster comedy Chocolat (2000). Binoche earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Vianne, a woman who brings life to a conservative French village by opening a chocolate shop. Since then, Binoche has continued to turn in acclaimed and successful performances while remaining true to her commitment to high-quality art films. She recently starred in the French-Taiwanese film Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) as well as Certified Copy, for which she won Best Actress at the 2010 Cannes film festival.
Binoche's personal and professional lives have always been deeply intertwined. She had a long-term relationship with Leos Carax, the director of Lovers on the Bridge; dated Olivier Martinez, her costar in The Horseman on the Roof; and had a daughter, Hana, by Benoît Magimel, whom she met filming Les Enfants du Siècle in 1999. Binoche also has a son, Raphaël, with professional scuba diver André Halle. She most recently dated Santiago Amigorena, an Argentinean screenwriter and director with whom she has worked on several occasions. Through it all, she has remained unmarried because, she says, she has struggled to find her perfect match. "You've got to search without searching and that is what's so difficult," Binoche says about love.
Known in France simply as "La Binoche," Juliette Binoche is widely considered the most successful and talented French actress of her generation. She is the very rare actress who has managed to achieve mass popularity without ever appearing in mass-market films. Instead, she earned fame through quality projects that achieved box office success despite their seeming indifference to it. Binoche sums up her philosophy on the vocation of acting, "The law of acting for any actor is ups and downs. Sometimes you have wonderful roles, sometimes you have nothing. You have to accept it's like that. It's not fonctionnaire [civil servant] work. But it's true you have to say no to those roles you're not going to be nourished by. You have somehow to be a little fulfilled in it so that you can bring something out of yourself that is challenging, enlightening, creative. Otherwise you should do something else."