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Juliette Binoche ( ; born 9 March 1964) is a French film actress, who has appeared in more than 40 films since 1983. While starting on the stage during her teens, Binoche had a dramatic education. After founding her success in French cinema, she gained international acclaim for her portrayal in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), then won the César Award for Best Actress in Three Colors: Blue (1993), also received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The English Patient (1996). Other notable performances include Chocolat (2000), Caché (2005), and The Flight of the Red Balloon (2007).

Early life and career

Binoche was born in Paris, the daughter of Jean-Marie Binoche, a director, actor, and sculptor, and Monique Stalens, a teacher, director, and actress. Binoche's mother is of Polish descent, and her maternal Polish-Catholic grandparents were imprisoned at Auschwitzmarker because they were intellectuals. Binoche also has French, Flemish, Brazilianmarker and Moroccanmarker ancestry. Her parents divorced when she was four and Binoche and her sister Marion were sent to a boarding school.

Binoche began acting in amateur stage productions, and at 17 directed and starred in a student production of the Eugène Ionesco play, Exit the King. The next year, she studied acting at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts of Paris (CNSAD). She found an agent through a friend and joined a theatre troupe in which she toured France, Belgium and Switzerland under the pseudonym of "Juliette Adrienne".

After quitting the CNSAD, she began acting lessons with famed coach Vera Gregh. Following in her mother's footsteps, she became a stage actress, occasionally taking small parts in French feature films. Her first screen role was a small part in the 1983 television film Dorothée, danseuse de corde by Jacques Fensten, which was followed by a similarly small role in the provincial television film Fort bloque by Pierrick Guinnard. After Binoche secured her first big screen appearance with a small supporting role in Pascal Kané's Algeria-themed Liberty Belle, she decided to pursue a career in cinema.

1984 to 1991

Binoche's early films saw her firmly established as a French star of some renown. The recurring themes of these films were of contemporary young women exploring their lives and their sexuality. Small roles in Les Nanas and Adieu blaireau led to more significant exposure in Jean-Luc Godard's Je vous salue, Marie and Jacques Doillon's La Vie de Famille which cast her as the teenage stepdaughter of Sami Frey's character. This film was to set the theme and tone of the early career.

In 1985, Binoche secured the lead role in André Téchiné's Rendez-vous. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker that year, winning Best Director. In 1986, Binoche was nominated for her first César Award for Best Actress for the film. Binoche's next film was a role in Mon beau-frère a tué ma soeur by Jacques Rouffio, which was a critical and commercial failure. Later that year, she starred opposite Michel Piccoli in Léos Carax's Mauvais Sang. This film, however, was a critical and commercial success, leading to Binoche's second César Award nomination. In August 1986, she portrayed Tereza in Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being based on the Milan Kundera novel. This was Binoche's first English language role and was a worldwide success with critics and audiences alike. After this success, Binoche decided to return to France rather than pursue an international career.

In 1988, she filmed the lead in Pierre Pradinas's Un tour de manège, a little-seen French film. Later that year she began work on Léos Carax's Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. The film was beset by problems and took three years to complete. When it was released in 1991, The Lovers on the Bridge was a critical success. Binoche won a European Film Award for best actress as well as her third César Award nomination.

1992 to 2000

Following the long shoot of Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, Binoche relocated to Londonmarker for the 1992 productions of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Damage, both of which considerably enhanced her international reputation. For Damage Binoche received her fourth César Award nomination. In 1993, she appeared in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Blue to much critical acclaim. The film premiered at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, landed Binoche a Prize in Venice, a César Award for Best Actress, and a Golden Globe nomination. After this success, she took a short sabbatical during which she gave birth to her son, Raphael.

In 1995, Binoche appeared in a big-budget adaptation of Jean Giono's The Horseman on the Roof directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau. The film was a box-office success around the world and Binoche was again nominated for a CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress. This role as a romantic heroine was to color the direction of many of her roles in the late 1990s.

In 1996, Binoche appeared in A Couch in New York by Chantal Akerman. The film was a flop, but her next film was The English Patient, which was based on the acclaimed novel by Michael Ondaatje and directed by Anthony Minghella. The English Patient was a worldwide hit. It received nine Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Binoche. With this film, she became the second French cinema actress to win an Oscar. She said in her acceptance speech that it was such a surprise, and that she had thought fellow nominee Lauren Bacall was going to win; she started to thank people, but only got past her director Anthony Minghella before laughing that it "must be a dream... a French dream!"

After this international hit, Binoche returned to France and began work opposite Daniel Auteuil on Claude Berri's Lucie Aubrac, which was based on a true story. However, Binoche was released from this film six weeks into the shoot, over differences with Berri regarding the authenticity of his script. Next she worked again with André Téchiné on Alice et Martin (1998), followed in 1999 by Children of the Century in which she played 19th-century French writer George Sand.

2000 saw Binoche in four successful, but different, roles. Firstly was La Veuve de Saint-Pierre by Patrice Leconte for which she was nominated for a CĂ©sar Award for best actress. Next she appeared in Michael Haneke's Code Unknown, a film which was made following Binoche's approach to the Austrian director. Binoche made her Broadway debut in Harold Pinter's Betrayal for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. Back on screen, Binoche was the heroine of the Lasse Hallstrom film Chocolat for which she won a European Film Award for Best Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA.

Between 1995 and 2000, Binoche was the advertising face of the Lancôme scent Poème, her image adorning print campaigns and a TV advertising campaign. There were three commercials featuring Binoche for the perfume, including an advert directed by Anthony Minghella and scored by Gabriel Yared.

2001 to 2006

Following the success of Chocolat, Juliette Binoche returned to France for an unlikely role. Jet Lag (2002) opposite Jean Reno saw Binoche play a ditzy beautician. The film was a box-office hit in France and saw Binoche once again nominated for a CĂ©sar Award for best actress. In 2003, Binoche featured in an Italian TV commercial for the chocolates Ferrero Rocher. This ad played upon her Chocolat persona and featured Binoche handing Rochers to people on the streets of Paris. Next Binoche went to South Africa to film John Boorman's In My Country (2004) opposite Samuel L. Jackson.

Binoche then teamed up with Michael Haneke again for Caché in 2005. The film was an immediate success, winning best director at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Binoche was nominated for a European Film Award for Best Actress for her role. Binoche's next film was Bee Season with Richard Gere. Mary (2005) saw Binoche collaborate with Abel Ferrara for an investigation of modern faith and Mary Magdalene's position in the Catholic Church. The film was an immediate success, winning the Grand Prix at the 2005 Venice Film Festival.

2006 saw Binoche take part in the portmanteau work Paris, je t'aime appearing in a section directed by Nobuhiro Suwa. Binoche appeared at the 2006 Venice Film Festival to launch A Few Days in September, by Santiago Amigorena. Later in the month she traveled to the Toronto Film Festivalmarker for the premiere of Breaking and Entering, her second film with Anthony Minghella in the director's chair.

2007 to present

2007 was one of Binoche's busiest years. The Cannes Film Festivalmarker saw the premiere of Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge by the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. The film was well received by international critics and went on to debut around the world in early 2008. Dan in Real Life a romantic comedy opposite Steve Carell was released in October 2007, becoming a popular commercial success. Back in France Binoche was seen to popular and critical success in Paris by Cédric Klapisch, L'Heure D'été by Olivier Assayas and Disengagement by Amos Gitai. In the Autumn of 2008 Binoche appeared in a theatrical dance production titled in-i with Akram Khan, which featured stage design by Anish Kapoor and music by Philip Sheppard premiering at the National Theatremarker in London before moving to New York, L.A., Sydney and Paris. In June 2009 Binoche began work on Copie Conforme for Abbas Kiarostami. At the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Binoche revealed that she was developing projects with Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Jia Zhangke and Jiang Wen.

Personal life

Binoche has two children: Raphaël (born on 2 September 1993), whose father is André Halle, a professional scuba diver, and Hana (born on 16 December 1999), whose father is actor Benoît Magimel, with whom Binoche starred in the 1999 film Children of the Century. Binoche was romantically involved with Argentine writer/director Santiago Amigorena between 2005 and 2008.


In the 1991 film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, in which Binoche portrays an artist, the paintings used in the film were Binoche's own work. She also designed the poster for the film.

In 1993, Binoche exhibited work done in collaboration with the French designer and artist Christian Fenouillat. They plan to collaborate again in the future and are currently working on pieces themed by Cinema.

In November 2008, Juliette Binoche published a bilingual large format book entitled "Juliette Binoche, Portraits In-Eyes". The book contains large full page portraits of each director she has worked with as well as self portraits of her as each character. Binoche also wrote a few lines dedicated to each director. The book was published by French house "Editions Place des Victoires"


Binoche is involved with a number of charities, including being a patron of the Cambodianmarker charity Aspecta since 1992. She is also godmother to nine Cambodian orphans.

In 2004 Binoche organised an auction on behalf of Médecins Sans Frontières, in which disposable cameras were given to numerous celebrities and then auctioned off; the winner of each camera would then develop the pictures to reveal that celebrity's chosen subject.

Political views

In 2007, Binoche said she disagreed with the official version of the September 11 attacks, and that US government agencies must have had fore-knowledge of the attacks.

She supported José Bové in the 2007 French presidential elections which were won by Nicolas Sarkozy. She has disclosed on a number of occasions that she does not approve of the Sarkozy administration, stating that the president is creating a monarchic republic.

Filmography and awards

Year Film Role Notes
1983 Dorothée, danseuse de corde minor role aka: Dorothy the Rope Dancer
Liberty belle La fille du rallye
1985 Le Meilleur de la vie Une amie de VĂ©ronique au bar aka: A Better Life
Rendez-vous Nina/Anne Larrieux Nominated - CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress
Adieu blaireau Brigitte B., dite B.B. aka: Farewell Blaireau
La Vie de famille Natacha aka: Family Life
Les Nanas Antoinette aka: The Chicks
'Je vous salue, Marie' Juliette aka: Hail Mary
Fort bloqué Nicole Television
1986 Mauvais sang Anna aka: Bad Blood
Nominated - CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress
Mon beau-frère a tué ma soeur Esther Bouloire aka: My Brother-in-law Has Killed My Sister
1988 The Unbearable Lightness of Being Tereza
1989 Un tour de manège Elsa aka: Roundabout
1991 Les Amants du Pont-Neuf Michèle Stalens aka: The Lovers on the Bridge
Nominated - CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress
Women & Men 2: In Love There Are No Rules Mara Television
1992 Damage Anna Barton Nominated - CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights Cathy Linton / Catherine Earnshaw
1993 Trois couleurs: Bleu Julie Vignon (de Courcy) aka: Three Colors: Blue
Won - CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress

Nominated - Golden Globe
1994 Trois couleurs: Blanc Julie Vignon (de Courcy) aka: Three Colors: White
Trois couleurs: Rouge Julie Vignon (de Courcy) aka: Three Colors: Red
1995 The Horseman on the Roof Pauline de Théus Nominated - César Award for Best Actress
1996 The English Patient Hana Won - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress

Won - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominated - Golden Globe
A Couch in New York Beatrice Saulnier
1998 Alice et Martin Alice aka: Alice and Martin
1999 Children of the Century George Sand/Baroness Aurore Dudevant
2000 Chocolat Vianne Rocher Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress

Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominated - Golden Globe
Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys Anne Laurent
La Veuve de Saint-Pierre Pauline (Madame La) aka: The Widow of Saint-Pierre
Nominated - CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress
2002 Jet Lag Rose Nominated - CĂ©sar Award for Best Actress
2004 In My Country Anna Malan
2005 Mary Marie Palesi / Mary Magdalene
Bee Season Miriam
Caché Anne Laurent aka: Hidden
Nominated - European Film Award for Best Actress
2006 Breaking and Entering Amira
Quelques Jours en Septembre Irène Montano aka: A Few Days in September
Paris, je t'aime Suzanne aka: Paris, I Love You
segment "Place des Victoires"
2007 Dan in Real Life Marie
Disengagement Ana
Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge Suzanne aka: Flight of the Red Balloon
2008 Paris Elise
L'Heure d'été Adrienne aka: Summer Hours
Shirin Herself
2009 Copie conforme post-production

Other awards



  • 2001 — Screen Actors Guild Award — Best Actress — Chocolat
  • 2001 — Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role — Chocolat
  • 2001 — Screen Actors Guild Award — Outstanding Cast — Chocolat
  • 2005 — European Film Award Best Actress; — CachĂ©
  • 2005 — London Critics Circle Film Awards — Best Actress — CachĂ©
  • 2006 — British Independent Film Award — Best Actress — Breaking & Entering


  1. Juliette Binoche Biography (1964-) at Film Reference
  2. Living
  3. Stated in interview at Inside the Actors Studio
  4. Juliette Binoche Oscar Acceptance Speech
  5. National Theatre : National Theatre homepage : Homepage
  6. Mariinsky Theatre biography for Christian Fenouillat

External links

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