Claire Denis-Juliette Binoche: A Prolific collaboration in France and in America

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Claire Denis, Vincent Lindon and Juliette Binoche at Berlinale 2022 © Elena Ternovaja, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Claire Denis, Vincent Lindon and Juliette Binoche at Berlinale 2022 © Elena Ternovaja, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Claire Denis, Vincent Lindon and Juliette Binoche at Berlinale 2022 © Elena Ternovaja, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Juliette Binoche and Claire Denis are two of the most prominent figures in French cinema, and their work together has been particularly...

 

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Claire Denis, Vincent Lindon and Juliette Binoche at Berlinale 2022 © Elena Ternovaja, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Juliette Binoche and Claire Denis are two of the most prominent figures in French cinema, and their work together has been particularly notable. The duo met numerous times through work, and they immediately hit it off, developing a strong bond. They loved working together and shared a creative vision that informed their work. Claire Denis's work began to get known in the US thanks to her collaboration with Binoche and Isabelle Huppert. Subscribe now to TV5MONDE USA to watch Juliette Binoche's best movies and many more French gems!

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Watch now La Bonne Épouse with Juliette Binoche and Yolande Moreau on TV5MONDE Cinema on Demand or stream Un divan à New York with Juliette Binoche and William Hurt on TV5MONDEplus

Let the Sunshine In: a subtil melodrama

Their first film together, Let the Sunshine In (Un beau soleil intérieur), premiered in 2017 in many film festivals before being release by IFC films. It was a critical and commercial success. The film explores the intricacies of love through the character of Isabelle (Binoche), a divorced artist in her fifties who is seeking true love in a series of unsatisfactory relationships. Claire Denis's nuanced direction, combined with Binoche's vulnerable and relatable performance, created a film that felt like a deeply personal exploration of the complexities of human relationships. The film was praised by critics for its tender and honest portrayal of love, the sophisticated screenplay, and the elegant visual style. Binoche's performance was particularly applauded, with critics lauding her ability to convey her character's emotional struggles with authenticity and nuance.

High Life: A First Foray into Hollywood

Claire Denis's second film with Juliette Binoche, High Life, marked a significant departure from her usual style as it was her first English-language film and included lots of CGI. This was a step into the unknown for Denis, and she embraced it with impressive creativity. High Life tells the story of a group of convicts sent into space on a mission to find a new energy source. Binoche plays Dr. Dibs, the scientist in charge of the project and a character with questionable morals. The cast also inlkudes Robert Pattinson and André Benjamin. The film explores themes of isolation, repression, and desire, and it features intense and disturbing scenes, illustrating how Denis can reach new horizons in storytelling without losing her thematic and stylistic convictions

 Critics had mixed reactions to the film, and some found it too enigmatic or disturbing. Still, most praised the director's vision, as well as Binoche's and the supporting cast's performances. The film's visual style, CGI, and sound design were also widely recognized and appreciated. Public reception was polarized, with some viewers embracing the film's experimental and thoughtful nature, while others found it too dense or confusing. Despite the mixed reactions, High Life secured Denis's place as a director capable of tackling ambitious and unconventional projects. It also demonstrated Juliette Binoche's versatility and willingness to dive into new territories. Overall, High Life remains a dark, thought-provoking film that showcases both Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche's ability to push boundaries and challenge audiences.

Both Sides of the Blade: The Classic Ménage-à-Trois

Their latest work together is Both Sides of the Blade (Avec amour et acharnement), which premiered in 2021. The film is an adaptation of the bestseller by Christine Angot, Un tournant de la vie. The story follows the relationship between Jean and Sara, who have been living together for 10 years. When they first met, Sara was living with François, Jean’s best friend and an admirer from back when he played pro rugby. Jean and Sara love each other. One day, Sara sees François in the street. He does not notice her, but she is overtaken by the sensation that her life could suddenly change. François gets back in touch with Jean. For the first time in years. He suggests they start working together again. From here on, things spiral out of control. Both Sides of the Blade was met with critical acclaim and won a Silver Lion for Best Director for Claire Denis at the Berlin Film Festival.

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