Hello! Welcome to Pichets in Paris Publishing. Here you will find travel stories and photos, the occasional Book Review and fictional piece based in Paris or France. ALL IMAGES ARE BY L'AUSSIE IMAGES (owned by Denise Covey). Contact me for permission to copy my images.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Juliette Binoche - the transformer - and her new film Certified Copy

French actress Juliette Binoche is one of my favourites. I became a fan of hers after seeing her as the gutsy single mum chocolatier who took on a whole French village in the feel-good movie Chocolat. Sure, I was jealous of her role opposite Johnny Depp and all that chocolate, but even so, to shine in such circumstances was no mean feat. Since then, I've followed her career with interest.

I was not really surprised to read that she's no great fan of Hollywood. She was actually offered a part in Steven Speilberg's Jurassic Park and told it would be professional suicide to turn it down but she just shrugged and said 'I would rather play a dinosaur than one of the humans in that movie.' Far from committing professional suicide she was later offered a part in Speilberg's Schindler's List, but she declined as she said it conflicted with her Polish roots and she thought Speilberg focussed too heavily on male roles.

Binoche has always been true to herself. From a young age she decided to follow her instincts and to have the courage to make bold choices so she could have a fulfilling career. She's been described as prickly, headstrong, eccentric and difficult, but she has always been a risk taker.

She has forged her own way ever since she dropped out of drama school in the Paris Conservatory because she felt it was too traditional. She preferred Russian and American acting methodology, to act from the inside out.

She has done some interesting things to prepare for a role. To channel an Afrikaaner poet in John Boorman's In My Country (2004) set in post-apartheid South Africa, she took up African tribal dancing. To achieve melancholy stillness for her role in Blue (1993) she took a course of ahem, enemas.

Binoche's acting career has spanned many years and she has achieved a best supporting Academy Award for her role as a Canadian nurse caring for Ralph Fiennes's burn victim in The English Patient. Receiving this accolade from Hollywood did not stop her from continuing to seek other fields for her film choices.

In her 40-film career she has always expanded her repertoire. She has been a vamp, an innocent, sexually repressed Tereza in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and a voracious sex siren in Malle's Damage. Between acting in film she has performed on West End and Broadway stages.

Her latest film Certified Copy has spawned a variety of views. It's been described as 'a philospohical existential mediation', 'classic drama in the vein of Rossellini' and 'a screwball comedy'. One critic asserted that 'the real standout roles are Tuscany's piazzas, trattorias and museums' whilst another described it as 'the best romcom of the year, particularly for those who have failed in relationships.' Something for everyone then...

Binoche and her films can certainly polarise opinions, but she doesn't care what others think of her or her choices.

Binoche doesn't like films 'that try to give solutions, explanations, demonstrations of what you should be thinking or feeling.' That perhaps explains her dislike for American filmscripts. She rather likes films that have 'a sort of openness to the story that allows audiences to fill in the gaps with their own feelings, that don't give easy solutions.'

Very Juliette Binoche, French actress extraordinaire.

Perhaps she'll be walking the red carpet at Cannes once again. I hope so.


  1. Oh, thank you for that - I adore Juliette Binoche, I love her clarity and stillness of presence.

  2. Yes, she's definitely unique Margo. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hey! Just discovering this blog -- so glad you linked it to the Bernard Pivot Blogfest. And trés apropos, considering Monsieur Pivot is français.

    I like Juliette Binoche very much. Your discussion of her work her was interesting -- I learned quite a bit about her. Thanks!

  4. Nicole: Glad you found me and liked my piece about Juliette Binoche. Looking fwd to the blogfest!

  5. A lovely homage to a great actress!

    I like that she stayed true to herself.

  6. LR, yes I think she has done this!

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog. It sounds like we have so much in common. I am also a Brisbane based-franophile who spends my time dreaming of Paris! And yes, I'm studying at Alliançe! I've done "adolescent" classes for the past 2 years and now that I'm out of highschool I've been placed in Threshold 1. You should get back into it! Your French will return immediately - don't worry. In the meantime, you should chat to yourself a little bit or watch the French news in the morning.

    Your so lucky to be travelling to France soon. Where are you planning to go? I think my Mum and I will head over there next year - fingers crossed!! Mon dieu!!

    Thanks for the URL; I will definitely follow your French blog. (Juliette is a great French actress indeed. I loved her in Chocolat and in the recent film, Paris).
    Bonne journée,

  8. Yes and I am another one who loves Juliette Binoche and I enjoyed both the film and the book Chocolat. Thanks for giving me your link here, I will keep an eye on what you are up to. If you travel to the Dordogne you will be 'almost next door' :-) Diane


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