He fell in love with the generation of the 80s and 90s. Despite his perfect English, he refused to join the ranks of commercial Hollywood cinema. She gave Spielberg pumpkins to work with Kieślowski, Hallström, Minghella, Carax or Denis. And yet she is one of the best known and most reputable actresses on the international scene. Juliette Binoche, the muse of European auteur cinema, has arrived today in San Sebastian where she will receive the Donostia Award tonight.
Show business has always been a part of Binoche's life, coming from a family of artists. She made her film debut with small roles in the early 1980s and stood out in Yo te salute, María (1984), the controversial film by the recently deceased Jean-Luc Godard. She soon had her first leading role in Rendez-vous (André Téchiné, 1985) where she played a girl who arrives in Paris to carve out a niche for herself in the theater of the French capital. Thanks to that film, Binoche made a niche in the world of cinema.
She was soon called by Philip Kaufman who was going to make Milan Kundera's famous novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being into a film. The French actress became the protagonist of the film, shot in 1987, which narrates the love life of a surgeon with the Prague Spring as a backdrop. The film, which co-starred Daniel Day-Lewis and Lena Olin, garnered multiple Oscar nominations and propelled Binoche to international fame.
The actress immediately showed that she preferred risky roles to usual beauty ones by agreeing to play a tramp in The Lovers of the Pont-Neuf (Leos Carax, 1991). And she was right because the film brought her a lot of awards and nominations. She then became Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights (Peter Kosminsky, 1992) with Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff in the film adaptation of Emily Brontë's novel.
And she repeated with Fiennes as a fellow poster in her most memorable role, that of Hana, the Canadian nurse who cares for an injured pilot at the end of World War II in The English Patient (Anthony Minghella, 1996). The film brought Binoche an Oscar and consolidated a career that has other prestigious titles such as Three Colors: Blue (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1993), the celebrated Chocolat (Lasse Hallström, 2000), Some Days in September (Santiago Amigorena, 2006) o Certified copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
The San Sebastian Festival and its director, José Luis Rebordinos, wanted to reward this intense and successful career with the Donostia Award, which Binoche will collect tonight. But the actress has already given a press conference this afternoon to thank her for the award and has remained faithful to her decision to choose risky roles and her commitment to auteur cinema: "I try never to judge a role but to love it in its contradictions, in its shadows, in a script there is an evolution and that is what interests me, the inner journey that makes us more human", he explained.
"The initiatory journey" that occurs when approaching a role is what interests her in acting as an actress. The artist, who brings to San Sebastian the films Fuego, by Claire Denis, and Le Lycéen, directed by Christophe Honoré, also considers that "you have to know how to say no and reject roles".
Binoche is "delighted" that it is the director Isabel Coixet, the director with whom she has worked on 'No one wants the night', who will present her with the Donostia Award tonight at the Kursal.
Thus, he has indicated that he "deeply admires" Coixet, whom he has defined as "intelligent, fast, very cultured". "She is a person who likes to take the bull by the horns, whom I admire and love."
The French interpreter, who is also the poster image for this year's edition of the San Sebastian festival, maintains that she does not have "an overall vision" of cinema, because she is "a woman on the ground, who searches within herself and confronts with a script", and has considered that what remains of the cinema of the 80s and 90s "are the best films", but "in the history of any art trials are made and everything is distilled" so that with the current works the same will happen.