To her legions of fans, she’s the consummate auteur’s actress: she has gravitas, takes risks, and is photogenic to boot. To her detractors, she’s po-faced, a bit pretentious, and monotonously committed to playing the strong-willed woman with issues. Her career has spanned the screen, the stage and the page, taking in awards, flops and not a few controversies along the way. No matter what you think of Juliette Binoche, there’s no denying that she merits a retrospective of her own.
Ciné Lumière: What's On
This season at the Ciné Lumière, however, isn’t quite that. Rather, it is a choice selection of seven films from the actress’s back catalogue, programmed to mark the release of her new film Clouds of Sils Maria (which has an extended run).
There are classics here. The first port of call for anyone who hasn’t seen it should be Three Colours: Blue (1989), Krzysztof Kieslowski’s sublime study of loss and music, in which La Binoche (as the French are wont to call her) gives one of her most nuanced and psychological performances. Those who like their cinema cerebral and fractious should check out Code Unknown (2000), Michael Haneke’s uncompromising tour-de-force about race, violence, urban anomie and other Important Things.
Juliette Binoche: Ciné Lumière film listings
The programme also throws up a couple of gems that may be unfamiliar even to seasoned Binochers. The Horseman on the Roof (1989), based on Jean Giono’s romantic novel set in the wake of the Napoleonic wars, may not be fashionable, but it’s far more sophisticated than your average literary adaptation. Rendez-vous (1985), graphically sexy and slinkily menacing in that inimitably French way, is a little-seen example of Binoche pre-superstardom. But for our money, the one to watch is The Night Is Young (1986), a dystopian nightmare of a film that is simply too bewildering to feature very often on cinema listings.
It may not be complete, but this season makes a strong case for Binoche’s range and power as an actress. Her fans won’t need to be told twice, but her detractors may learn that there’s more to her than they suspected.
|What||Juliette Binoche Season, Ciné Lumière|
|Where||Institut Français , 17 Queensberry Place , London, SW7 2DT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
26 Apr 15 – 28 May 15, 6:10 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via Ciné Lumière’s website|