best film:  Three Colours: Blue from Kieslowski and Cache from Haneke stand alone in the upper echelon for Juliette Binoche. Her split second role in Three Colours: Red is omitted from contention here.  She has a slew of films in a tier or two below: Lovers on a Bridge, Summer Hours, English Patient, Code Unknown.


Binoche has been as steady as a rock for decades- but her high-water mark is clearly 1993’s Three Colours : Blue working with Kieslowski


best performance:  The answer is Three Colours: Blue and it is not close. This is no insult to the rest of her oeuvre. She wears the tragic moments of the film so well. Binoche plays Julie and this is a one-woman show as far as acting is concerned. Kieślowski’s lingering camera, pauses, and stays tight on Binoche for powerful silent moments. To be clear, for most actresses in film’s history a performance like Code Unknown, Certified Copy or even stuff off her top five like Sils Maria or The Unbearable Lightness of Being would be career highlights- but not for Binoche with her central role in this grand masterpiece. Her top three performances (3) seems a step above, but her best four (4) through eleven (11) or twelve (12) performances seem fairly interchangeable.


stylistic innovations/traits:  For almost forty (40) years now has been Ms. International cinema. Throughout her career she has worked in her native France, but she has also worked with some of the great auteurs from around the globe (see below) and has coveted César (Three Colours: Blue), a win at Cannes (Certified Copy), and an Oscar (for a performance in English- yes The English Patient). She has sparred with Daniel Day-Lewis (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient), Denis Lavant (twice- both Mauvais sang and The Lovers on the Bridge) and others and she always comes out on top (or even at worst). She is in one of the best films of both the 1990s (Three Colours: Blue) and the 2000s (Cache).


Binoche worked and excelled in her native France (here in Carax’s The Lovers on the Bridge)

She has also found success outside France as well- whether it be her collaborations with Haneke or her work here in The English Patient. 


directors worked with:KrzysztofKieślowski (3) but it is a bit of a cheat as it is really one film (Three Colours : Blue and the other two are extremely brief appearances). Leos Carax (2), Michael Haneke (2), Olivier Assayas (2) and Abbas Kiarostami. She has also worked with Anthony Minghella, Jean-Luc Godard and Hsiao-Hsien Hou. Her top ten performances include films from directors from Poland, Germany, France, the UK, Iran, and Taiwan.


from Code Unknown here-Binoche has often sacrificed starring roles to be a key part of a greater whole.


top ten performances:

  1. Three Colours: Blue
  2. The Lovers on the Bridge
  3. Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys
  4. The English Patient
  5. Certified Copy
  6. Summer Hours
  7. Mauvais sang
  8. The Flight of the Red Balloon
  9. Cache
  10. Clouds of Sils Maria


Binoche’s place on this list is less tied to one director than many of the other great actors. She also has maintained her stature as one of the greats for decades now- unlike some great actors that have burned brightly for a short stretch of time and flamed out quickly.


archiveable films

1985- Hail Mary
1986- Mauvais sang
1988- Unbearable Lightness of Being
1991- The Lovers on a Bridge
1993- Three Colours: Blue
1994- Three Colours: White
1994- Three Colours: Red
1996- The English Patient
2000- Chocolat
2000- Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys
2000- The Widow of Saint-Pierre
2005- Cache
2007- The Flight of the Red Balloon
2008- Summer Hours
2010- Certified Copy
2014- Clouds of Sils Maria