Actress Juliette Binoche on inflationary festival awards, her collaboration with Kristen Stewart for the new movie "Sils Maria" and the reason why she would never go on holiday in the Engadine.
Juliette Binoche is one of the biggest stars of French cinema, but you rarely meet her in France. "I am a traveller," says the 50-year-old. And in fact, she was just in Hollywood for the blockbuster "Godzilla" and in the Engadine for the author's film "Sils Maria". Then the Oscar winner was shooting in Chile and Norway. During this phone interview she is in Sicily, where she is shooting "L'attesa", the debut film of the "La Grande Bellezza" assistant, director Paolo Sorrentino. She interrupts the interview, held in French, from time to time to give someone in her apartment instructions in Italian. This language will be of use to her: soon she travels to Locarno, where on August 15th she will receive the Excellence Award Moët & Chandon.
Congratulations on the award, Ms. Binoche.
Merci. It is a pleasure. Usually I hardly accept such prices.
What bothers me, is that they have become inflationary. There are so many festivals that want to honour one. They are less interested in your work, but rather want to combine their own name with that of a star.
Why you have committed in this case Locarno?
Because of the reputation of the festival. It is so good that I have allowed myself this little vanity. Acting is something very abstract, it is about emotions. It is nice to have a price you can touch.
We read your Oscar for "The English Patient" was touched so often that he get damaged.
My kids were incredibly fascinated by it and wanted to play with it constantly. They gnawed and scratched it so often, that the gold paint came off. I thought that was funny: only the Oscar's surface shines. Meanwhile, I have been able to replace it. And now take care of it.
In Locarno Her new film "Sils Maria" is running. . .
. . . of course that was also a reason to agree to go.
Did you seen the Maloja snake, the weather phenomenon that plays a role in the film?
On the first day when we arrived at the hotel, this fog was there. Impressive.
Was it your first time staying in Sils Maria?
Yes. It was nice, but I'll never make go on holiday there.
I love the mountains. But somehow, the area felt to me. . . (laughs). . . felt to me like a place where older people go on holiday (laughs some more). I do not like.
You turned 50. . .
. . . yes, yes, but I am thinking of holidays for the really old. Or are you already old when you are 50, what do you think?
To be 50, was a pivotal event for me.
For me it was more like when I was 40. Being 50 is less specific. I accept this adventure. And will see what it brings.
In the film, you play an actress who struggles to accep her age.
Yes, but I'm not. This figure is a product of the imagination of the director Olivier Assayas.
Nevertheless: Can younger colleagues unsettle you?
That probably belongs to getting old, does it not? But I think the competition between the generations is not as great as some think. For example I have a wonderful relationship with Jeanne Moreau and other older actresses. There is more competition between people of the same generation, because there fighting for the same parts.
Have you actually read Friedrich Nietzsche for "Sils Maria"?
At one time I read it. Not now. Should I?
It was there that, on a walk, the thought about "Eternal Return" for the first time.
But that is not necessarily subject of the film, right?
Perhaps: It's about the art of acting. Is acting not sometimes a recurrence of the same?
For me parts are primarily opportunities for transformation. You always work from your own experience. Clearly you use your own experiences as reference. But that's not art. You must then, together with the other actors and the director, raise everything to a new level. That's what I call creation, or less pathetic creativity. The recurrence of the same is therefore only the foundation. What comes after that is work, work, work.
Your movie character says she does not want to rehearse often because the spontaneity would be lost.
Right. But I, Juliette Binoche, do not at agree with that. That is the stereotype of a director who is afraid of really doing things. As protection he says, otherwise the spontaneity would be lost.
In "Sils Maria" seduction also plays an important part.
There surely is seduction between an actress and a director. But it is alsotherein other conversations, even in interviews like this. But one has not yet created anything with it alone (laughs).
Do you actually have a good personal assistant?
A wonderful one. We worked together for 16 years. Then we broke up, but are now working together again. We are like sisters.
In "Sils Maria» Your assistant is played by Kristen Stewart, who is a huge star herself thanks to the "Twilight" movies.
Yes. And she works quite differently than I do. She can, for example, read her lines three times in the morning and then knows it perfectly in the afternoon. That is not how it work for me. I look at the texts well in advance and always come back to it. I this so that it doesn't just stick to the surface.
Does Kristen Stewart work superficially?
Not at all. Just different. She may be only 24, but already has a lot of experience. The biggest difference: she was constantly communicating online with her friends.
Also in the Engadin?
Yes, she is so crowded by the outside world that she must isolate herself and create her own intimacy. I understand that. But it's not for me. I'm not on Facebook, not on Twitter.
And it should stay that way?
Kristen did say "come on, I'll show you". But no. Next year I play "Antigone" on a big theatrical tour. Since I'm rather on the road with my suitcase than with Facebook. I do use the Internet. I check what kind of people I will be working with.
Do you Google yourself sometimes be?
That can happen, I think it is fun. Recently I found a photo of myself with a beard. Very impressive.
In Locarno you will be honoured for your career - which would have almost been over in 1991 after "Les amants du Pont-Neuf".
Yes, I wanted to change my profession to become a teacher. This film, which we worked for two years, almost devoured me.
If you are still devoured by certain roles?
No. This probably has to do with experience. Previously, I found it hard to let go of old parts. Today I know that I must go on. Sure, there are still doubts. But I do not keep replaying the scenes in the head until they are correct, as I did earlier.
Do you ever watch your old films?
Very rarely. Unlike the actress in "Sils Maria" I would also never do a sequel to play. I do not like repeating myself. Repetition smells of death.
Yes. I like the independence, on all levels. As soon as you are part of a system - may it be Hollywood film or an author movie - you have a lot to lose. And I do not like that at all.
Two years ago you were arguing with Gérard Depardieu, who has also been honoured in Locarno. Did you make up?
I had no problems with it. But he appeared to with me.
Yes, he said in an interview that you were not a good actress, he did not understand why the world makes so much fuss about you.
I know. He is a big kid who will do anything to get attention. Meanwhile, I have seen him once in Paris. It was at a market, he stood there with his motorcycle helmet.
I am then - that's my style - I approached him directly, gave him a hug and asked him what was wrong. He hum and hawed a bit and then murmured: "Okay look, I constantly talk nonsense, do not take it seriously." Then I told him that I never took it seriously. That's it.
Source translated by Google and me
The local tourist office has already made a statement and will be sending her current photos of all the fun people of all ages can have here...