Juliette Binoche: Up close with the 2019 Berlinale Jury head | Film | DW | 07.02.2019
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Juliette Binoche: Up close with the 2019 Berlinale Jury head

Her vast international film career makes her the ideal Berlinale jury president pick. In France she’s known as the woman with a thousand faces; and yet she is instantly recognizable to audiences around the world.

Since the 1980s, Juliette Binoche has performed in more than 70 feature films and has become a household name in her native France.

But though she has worked with some of France's most important directors — among them Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Doillon, André Téchiné, Leos Carax, Louis Malle, Olivier Assayas, and most recently with Bruno Dumont and Claire Denis — she has also collaborated with the best helmers internationally.

Since her breakout roles in Philip Kaufman's Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), and Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's haunting Three Colors Blue from 1993 — for which she won best actress at Venice — Binoche has been a leading lady for a myriad of the world's top directors.

a young woman stands on the street holding a card (picture alliance/United Archives)

The young actor won plaudits internationally for her lead role in Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colours Blue"

Lauded across Europe's A-List fests

Binoche's work with Abel Ferrera, Britons Mike Figgis and Anthony Minghella, Michael Haneke from Austria, Israeli director Amos Gitai, Isabel Coixet of Spain, and Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, among many other global collaborators, has given her a rare fluency in the language of world cinema.  

Read moreThe personal and the political at the 2019 Berlinale 

And the French actor's selectivity regarding the roles taken over a 30-plus year career demonstrates her acting versatility — in her home country, where she's known as "La Binoche," the actor is described as the woman with a thousand faces because of the variety of characters she's played on the big screen.

Unsurprisingly, Binoche became the first actress to win top prizes in the trident of major European film festivals at Berlin, Cannes and Venice. And of course, she won an Oscar back in 1997 for her lead performance in The English Patient.

woman smiling with Oscar statue in hand (picture-alliance/dpa)

"La Binoche" picks up her Oscar in 1997

A worthy jury head

While turns in Hollywood hits like Chocolat or Godzilla have elevated Binoche from arthouse darling to mega star, she has tended to shun the limelight.

"If a star is someone who gives light, then I can be a star," she once said. "But if a star is someone who goes after money and magazine covers then it's sick and I don't want it." 

Binoche's acting stock-in-trade has been the portrayal of difficult, brooding characters — sometimes with an undercurrent of erotic charisma. Her role in Abbas Kiarostami's romantic drama Certified Copy, for which she won best actress at Cannes in 2010, typified the kind of performance that has made her so respected in her field.  

Binoche's impressive, and growing (her latest film, Who You Think I Am, will screen out of competition at the 2019 Berlinale), body of work well qualifies her to lead five fellow jurors in sifting through the 17 films competing for prizes at the 69th Berlinale — and eventually announce this year's Golden Bear winner.

Click through the gallery above to get acquainted with the rest of this year's Berlinale jury.  

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