Juliette Binoche happy outside ‘Hollywood system’

FRENCH actress Juliette Binoche has spoken of her pride at being able to resist becoming part of the “Hollywood system”.

French actress Juliette Binoche. Picture: PA
French actress Juliette Binoche. Picture: PA
French actress Juliette Binoche. Picture: PA

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Festival, she admitted she felt guilty after winning an Oscar for her role in The English Patient.

And the Antigone star she was proud she had been able to retain her independence since then - comparing big-money movies to department stores and expressing fears about how women were used on screen.

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Binoche said: “It’s important for me to be independent and not part of the system, it’s the same when you go and do your shopping. You don’t want to go to the big department stores, you want to go for something specific. You want to know what you buy and what you’re doing. For me, being part of a system blurs you.

“I’ve sometimes been into that place, but I’ve been doubtful, and I also feel responsible about being used as a woman. For me, the choice has to come from your guts and your heart. It’s maybe more than important than the result.”

Binoche revealed she was still hardly able to talk about the director of The English Patient, the late Anthony Minghella, who died seven years ago after suffering a haemorrhage.

She said: “I had a weird reaction after I made that film. I went back home and felt guilty. Success is a weird place. I wanted to go back home and reassure everybody for my sanity. It’s hard to hard to explain. I’m not sure I totally understand it.”

Binoche, who is making her debut Edinburgh Festival appearance this month, described the prospect of appearing on stage as “a need”, adding: “It is part of my nature.”

Speaking during an “in conversation” event, which was broadcast online by the BBC, Binoche said: “I loved playing when I was a little girl, it was my way of imagining worlds.

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“I was really conscious that I wanted to be in theatre when I was 17 after directing and appearing in a play at school. I recognised that was what I was here for.”

Binoche, who is starring in the Greek tragedy Antigone in Edinburgh, admitted she had been “bored” and “frightened of getting stuck in a box” while she was studying at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris, which she left early.