Our focus on the incredible performances of French actress Juliette Binoche is halfway through. Here are five films not to miss before they leave the big screen at the Australian Cinémathèque, Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.
Clouds of Sils Maria 2014
Boasting powerhouse performances by two actresses, Clouds of Sils Maria, is set in the world of film stars. Juliette Binoche plays acclaimed actress Maria Enders alongside Kristen Stewart as her burdened yet discerning personal assistant. Maria is offered a juicy role that sees her confronting the notion that she is now being offered characters that are ‘older women’. French auteur director Olivier Assayas turns a story that, in another director’s hands, could easily have been only about the trials and whims of celebrity into a powerful meditation on aging, artistic integrity and the emotional vulnerability of creating art. Screens: 7.50pm, Friday 2 June
Take a look at this tense scene between two acting talents on their game.
Trois couleurs: Bleu (Three Colours: Blue) 1993
A film that is described as a masterpiece with good reason, Three Colours: Blue features a searing performance by Binoche. She plays a grieving widow who wakes up in a hospital bed following a car crash only to find out the devastating news that her husband and child have died. The first of the ‘Three Colours’ trilogy, in which each draws on a colour of the French flag to articulate ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity, Blue interweaves colour as motif to explore of personal liberation. You may have seen this film on the small screen, but it really is another experience again seeing it in a darkened cinema fully immersed in the sound and vision. We’re screening a new 4K digital restoration. Screens: 6.00pm, Friday 26 May
Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (Flight of the Red Balloon) 2007
A film commissioned by the French museum Musée d’Orsay to commemorate their 20th anniversary. Lauded Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien crafts not only an homage to Paris but one of France’s most iconic films: The Red Balloon 1956 by Albert Lamorisse. A mysterious red balloon follows seven-year-old Simon through the streets of Paris in this beautifully shot portrait of a city, childhood and the process of making art. Juliette Binoche plays Suzanne, an unconventional artist who hires a young film student, Song Fang, to help care for her son and run their household. Screens: 12.30pm, Sunday 11 June and 8.20pm, Friday 16 June
Mauvais Sang (Bad Blood) 1986
Threatening henchmen, a plot to steal an antidote to a dangerous virus, a parachute jump out of a plane – all these are present in Bad Blood – but at its heart, this is a film about the exhilaration and exquisite heartache of young love. French filmmaker Leos Carax creates a raft of innovative and mesmerising images to tell his gangster-cum-romance story. The film features captivating early career performances by Julie Delpy and Juliette Binoche alongside actor and dancer Denis Lavant who is truly luminous on screen. Watch out for his incredible midnight dance sequence to David Bowie’s ‘Modern Love’. We’re screening a beautiful 4K digital restoration that’s hot off the press and does justice to the original. Screens: 12.40pm, Saturday 3 June
Never mind that this trailer isn’t subtitled, just enjoy the images
French writer Jeanne (Juliette Binoche) travels to an ancient forest in Japan seeking an elusive plant said to possess profound healing qualities. Set deep in the mountains of Japan’s Nara Prefecture, Binoche crafts a beguiling performance, which beautifully suits a narrative that leans into mystery and mysticism. I initially watched Vision on a small screen, but having the chance to see it in a cinema transformed the film for me: the sensuality of the storytelling was highlighted and hidden depths emerged. Japanese writer-director Naomi Kawase envelops the viewer in the sights and sounds of her local forests building a heady atmosphere that aims for a similar feeling to that of ‘forest bathing’. It’s a fascinating counterpoint in Binoche’s career. Screens: 8.20pm, Wednesday 7 June
Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA.
‘Juliette Binoche’ is a ticketed film program screening at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA from 28 April to 18 June. Visit the website to purchase tickets
The Australian Cinémathèque
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA provides an ongoing program of film and video that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations and silent films with live musical accompaniment by local musicians or on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.
Featured image: Production still from Three Colours: Blue 1993 / Director: Krzysztof Kieślowski / Image courtesy : mk2 Films