Interview: Juliette Binoche on Endless Night

She’s worked everywhere from Paris to New York, blockbuster to art house, Leos Carax to Gareth Edwards. Is there anything that the famously versatile Juliette Binoche cannot do? With her new film, Endless Night (now playing around Australia), it appears so.

Shot in the snowy wilderness of Bulgaria and Norway as well as a studio on the Spanish island of Tenerife, Endless Night finds Binoche playing real life figure Josephine Peary. Wife of famous Arctic explorer Robert Peary, in 1908 Josephine embarked on a journey across Greenland to find her husband.

Binoche, who has had parts written specially for her by directors like Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria, Summer Hours), said in an email interview that director Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me, Elegy, Learning to Drive) was a major influence for joining the project.

“The expectation of the director Isabel Coixet had a big impact on me, as I understood that she didn’t want to make the film unless I was involved in it.”

“Playing Josephine was a big challenge emotionally as she’s peeling to the core of herself throughout the whole movie.”

“Being in the middle of nowhere with the confrontation of two women was so extreme, that the experience attracted me.”

Binoche has, of course, worked on films as far and wide as United States, France, Canada, and even Colombia for directors as varied as David Cronenberg, Michael Haneke, and Abbas Kirostami, an experience that she says has enriched her career.

“Working in English and French languages helped me travel and work with a lot of different directors.”

“But also they are great directors that are attracted to France because of our movies’ history, so then, I was able to work in France with Kieslowki and Haneke for example.”

“I don’t make my choices because of the country or language, I choose genuinely because I love the project and director.”

But Binoche is now looking to the next generation filmmakers and tackling gender inequality in Hollywood, launching in February of this year production company We Do It Together with Jessica Chastain, Freida Pinto, Queen Latifah, Catherine Hardwicke, and Ziyi Zhang. Binoche says that inequality impacts the diversity of stories that are told on screen.

“What I’ve been observing for the late few years that a lot of women directors are coming forward and direct more.”

“The situation is obviously changing, and the more we make people aware that we need to have less gun films and more emotional films, the more we’ll be able to change ourselves!”

“Emotions help us to transform and be more conscious. We still live in a very male world, an outside force that is still blocking our feminine side!”

Endless Night is out now.

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