French film icon Juliette Binoche is one of the world’s great actresses. She has won an Oscar (for The English Patient), starred opposite Johnny Depp in a rom-com (Chocolat) and worked with directors as diverse as Jean-Luc Godard (Hail Mary), Hou Hsiao-Hsien (The Flight of the Red Balloon) and Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy). Her latest film, L’Attesa (The Wait), is an unusually accomplished feature debut by the Italian writer/director Piero Messina, and features one of her finest performances to date. In this drama, Anna (Binoche) is mourning the untimely death of her son at her Italian villa when the son’s girlfriend, Jeanne (Lou de Laâge), arrives on vacation without knowing the bad news. The two women bond as Anna pretends her son is still alive and will be re-joining them for Easter.
I recently spoke to Binoche about the unique demands of the character and film, which opens in New York and L.A. this weekend via Oscilloscope Laboratories.
MGS: What was it about this story—and the grief-stricken character of Anna—that attracted you to the project?
JB: The magical thinking that Anna chooses to live in order to face the tragedy of her life, the loss of her son, was fascinating to me. She’s not able to say the truth, not because she’s manipulative, but because she cannot say those words: “He’s dead.” I resisted playing a woman losing her child after Blue, because my experience with Kieslowski was so joyful. Somehow I wanted to protect that memory. But when I met with Piero Messina, there was such an intelligence in his eyes, and a will in his way of talking that I was really tempted to make his first film.
Read the full interview here.