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Juliette Binoche on the Art of Being Directed

W

hether she’s pushing herself to new heights on stage and screen or nurturing her passions as a painter and poet, Juliette Binoche is as creatively voracious now as she’s ever been. Her combination of strength and disarming vulnerability as a performer has made her one of the most sought-after international stars over the past three decades. What’s less frequently discussed is her long history of cultivating relationships with great directors, including Michael Haneke, Olivier Assayas, and Abbas Kiarostami. From her surprising interpretations of her characters to her intimate involvement in developing a number of her projects, Binoche’s choices reveal the intelligence and curiosity of an artist controlling the arc of her own career.

Her most recent partnership is with the great French director Claire Denis, an acquaintance from her early years in the film business. In their first movie together, Let the Sunshine In, Binoche stars as a painter grappling with disillusionment as she desperately tries to find true love. Last month, she visited us while in town for the theatrical release of the film, and I was thrilled to discover that she is as candid and engaged in person as she is on-screen. As we talked, she moved seamlessly from exuberant laughter at on-set memories to emotional insights about the fears and desires that have shaped her creative life. With a new set of adventures already in front of her, Binoche shared with me how she continues to nourish herself as an artist and how her powers of persuasion have come into play in her relationships with directors.

“You only relive things when they’re not lived fully in the moment.”

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