It was on May 17, 1983, at the Cannes Film Festival, that cinema saw Juliette Binoche for the first time in the cast of Liberty Belleby Pascal Kané.
She was a 19-year-old girl, the daughter of divorced parents, full of curiosity about the audiovisual industry that would lead her, in 1985, to film with the first of many directors myths she worked with: Jean-Luc Godard. performed I salute you Mary (1985), a film that angered the Vatican by proposing the semiotics of Our Lady, which made the then young actress understand that art and controversy go hand in hand. It was one of the stories she told in the 70th San Sebastian Festivalin Spain, which awarded her the honorary prize, the Donostia trophy, and screened two previously unpublished features starring her, both signed by designer brands in France.
“I remember that in the test for I salute you MaryGodard made me recite a poem while combing my hair,” recalled the actress, without commenting on the Filmmaker assisted suicideon the 13th. “Filming with him, I learned that, in this work, you always have to be prepared.”
Among San Sebastián’s special films, she appears in a love triangle in Avec Amour et Acharnement, which gave filmmaker Claire Denis the award for best director at the Berlinale in February. In the official selection, she plays the widowed mother of a boy who has just lost his father in Le Lyceenby Christophe Honoré, appointed as the favorite among the 17 competitors for the Concha d’Or, the most disputed laurel of the Spanish event, which ends this Saturday, the 24th. And it was enough to remember the filming of the story based on a personal tragedy of the director for Juliette to cry, even in an international interview.
“I am moved to remember that he entrusted me with the representation of his mother, which makes me feel loved and warms me, especially in the midst of a directing process full of lightness, without authority. Christophe looks at that woman and sees his mother in the midst of the loss she experienced when she was young, and which is at the heart of this film that discusses what it is like to be a teenager in this world”, defines Juliette, through tears, in conversation with the Estadão. “I am a sensitive person. A person who likes movement, who needs to know all the powers that art offers, but who also needs silence, to hear himself.”
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At 58, Juliette – who won the Oscar for best supporting role in 1997 for the english patient – has already cried publicly on other occasions, not only because of strong emotion, but touched by political conflicts in film production. The Cannes press conference in 2010 became famous, when the actress, talking about Faithful Copy, by Abbas Kiarostami, burst into tears upon learning of the arrest of Iranian director Jafar Panahi, detained by his government’s veto of freedom of expression. At the time, she declined to comment on her reaction. “It’s all expressed there, no caption needed,” she said in an interview 12 years ago. But today, she talks about the importance of the legitimacy of her feelings, even in public life.
“When you arrive at an event like this, you know you are going to be asked about your life and therefore you need to think carefully about the words you are going to say. But I try to be as truthful as possible when talking about my experiences. When I remember what we did in Christophe’s movie, Le Lyceenemotion comes to my mind – it was a film in which we were still living under the limitations imposed by the pandemic, wearing masks on set”, remembers the actress who, before San Sebastián, went through the Locarno Festival, in Switzerland, with the movie Paradise Highway, an American thriller in which a truck driver lives. “I like to test different expressions in art,” she says.
Although she speaks respectfully about the deaths inherent to covid-19, Juliette confesses her unease with some of the protective measures of confinement. “I have always worn a mask, not only for fear of contaminating myself, but out of respect for the lives by my side. However, I hated it. Just as I hated being banned from going to the beach, seeing the sea, during the lockdown. It was a similar feeling to when I went to Iran and had to wear a veil in my hair. My first time there, I understood the symbolism and accepted it. But on the second visit, I was uncomfortable thinking about what the veil represents for the female condition. I talked to some women about it and it was tough”, admits the actress, who will also be seen as the stylist Coco Chanel in the series. The New Lookfrom Apple TV.
“I feel that we still haven’t had time to assess what has changed in the world with the pandemic. I think that, in me, the main change was the increase in an ecological sense, the will to fight for a new environmental education. I bought a second house, in the countryside, so that I could take refuge with my children, in case the illness returns or something similar happens. But despite everything we went through in the lockdown, I made the most of the days of confinement as much as possible. I took care of my mother, I had time to enjoy the company of my children. It was good times.”
President of the jury of the Berlin Festival in 2019, Juliette does not speculate on San Sebastián’s results. “I lived the roles I play with real intensity”, explains the actress. “Delivery is necessary for the audience to believe you.”