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March 4, 2021

Juliette Binoche: I admired Nadia Comaneci. She lived in the Carpathians, I’ve always wanted to go there

French actress Juliette Binoche on Sunday evening recalled how, during her childhood, she admired very much Nadia Comaneci and that she also called the Romanian Embassy to find the address of the athlete and since she found out that Nadia lived “in the Carpathians,” she always wanted to go there.

“So, here I am!,” she joked at the end of the press conference she held in Bucharest, after the screening of “Polina,” the film directed by Valerie Muller and Angelin Preljocaj, in which she plays an important part, showed at the National Theatre Festival (FNT).

Binoche will also have a play she performs in, “Live no matter what (Barbara),” presented in Bucharest, on Monday, during the last day of the Festival.

The French actress spoke about what motivated her as an artist, how she managed to play a choreographer, in “Polina” and how she “eavesdropped” when the two directors of the film were discussing between them.

In order to master the language of the choreographers, she was sometimes helped by a headphone, through which she received whispered instructions. At some point, she recalled, the headphone remained opened, while the directors Valerie Muller and Angelin Preljocaj continued to talk about the film. “I felt their complicity and how seriously they were in the idea of creating cinema. Then Angelin realized that I can hear them and closed the microphone,” said Binoche.

Her character in the film was defined, to a great extent, by the exigency and toughness of the choreographers’ world, said the actress, who also added that, although she “made a lot of mistakes,” Angelin Preljocaj was “very patient” with her.

She also spoke about how delicate the work of an artist is and recited the lines of the song “Perlimpinpin” of songstress Barbara, to whom she is paying an homage with the show on Monday. With patience, she slowly uttered the words of the song, for the translator in Bucharest and explained their meaning.

“Practically, the song is about the need of transparency that we have in us, that we need to make it appear in us and we can do this by going through all the emotions, all the passions and inside moves, but this transparency is the one that helps us communicate with each other, instead of remaining isolated in our ivory tower,” said Binoche.

In the end, the actress also paid a small homage to her childhood idol – Nadia Comaneci.

“When I was a child, I admired very much Nadia Comaneci, who inspired me. I was fangirling for two people: an actor I was in love with and Nadia Comaneci. I used to imitate her a lot when I was at pool,” she confessed. Her passion for the Romanian athlete made her carry out a real investigation.

“I even called the Romanian Embassy in France. My mother encouraged me to do it. I wanted to know her address. They told me that she lived in the Carpathians. I always wanted to visit the Carpathians. So here I am!,” she confessed, while also recalling how she had her room “covered” in Nadia’s posters.

In his turn, Preljocaj said that his mission is to take the actors he works with outside their comfort zone. He also said how in “Polina” Binoche had the “generosity” to work with dancers who did not have any experience as actors. “Everything that Juliette does in the film is her doing,” he said, referring to the fact that they did not use doubles for the professional dance scenes. “The body shows something about the person’s substance and this cannot be imitated,” said the choreographer.

Marina Constantinescu, who made the selection for FNT, said that Nadia Comaneci also admires Binoche and that they even tried to bring the athlete to the show, on Monday.

The show “Live no matter what (Barbara)” will be performed on Monday evening, at the Studio Hall of the National Theatre. The artistic project brings together Juliette Binoche and Alexandre Tharaud (piano), the two paying an homage to songstress Brabata, with a selection of music and text they made together.

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