Oscar®-winner Juliette Binoche visited Beverly Hills recently to promote her latest film, The Taste Of Things, France’s official entry, best international feature for the 96th Academy Awards.
Filmmaker Trần Anh Hùng (The Scent of Green Papaya, Cyclo) won best director for the film at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, while Binoche is nominated in the best supporting performance category of the 2023 Gotham Awards.
Set in France in the late 19th century, the film, distributed in the U.S. By IFC Films and Sapan Studio, follows the life of Dodin Bouffant (Benoît Magimel) as the preeminent chef living with his personal cook and lover Eugénie (Binoche). Eugénie and Dodin share a long history of gastronomy and love. While emotions remain contained, the culinary discoveries are, on the other hand, breathtakingly exquisite. The only hitch is that Eugénie refuses to marry Dodin. So, the food lover decides to do something he has never done before: cook for her.
A true celebration of French cuisine and culture, the film is beautifully shot and the chemistry between Magimel and Binoche is intense.
Following the screening was a Q&A with Binoche and Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang. During the short discussion, Binoche was engaging, witty, and very candid, revealing extremely personal details about herself.
Binoche recognized the young actresses in the film, both of whom gave wonderful performances. She joked that Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire (Pauline) was cast by Hùng because “she chewed the best” and commented on how Galatéa Bellugi played Violette with “a sensibility that is humility with softness.”
In addition to French culture, Binoche describes the film, commenting “mainly it is about the seasons, and how to be in touch with the cycle of life that nature gives us.”
About Vietnamese-born director Trần Anh Hùng… “Hùng loves French literature”….she said she told him, “it is amazing how you embraced French culture; you are more French than any of us.” She likened Hùng’s immersion into the French arts and customs to that of her Polish/French mother, regarding the love she holds for the Polish culture.
And finally, on working with former romantic partner Magimel, with whom she has a daughter… “There was a lot of non-said things in the past, and we have been separated for a while. For me it was a way to say how much I love him no matter what happens, and also to give, my daughter, our daughter, a big gift, a big wink that life is stronger, love is stronger, no matter what happens.”
A wonderful message to take away.