Berlinale: Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon, the fierce lovers of Claire Denis

The French director covets the Golden Bear at the Berlin festival with her film With love and determination.

Two intense and passionate actors, reunited for the first time: Vincent Lindon and Juliette Binoche are two beasts in cages, torn apart by love, in the latest film by Claire Denis, in competition in Berlin.

De Lindon, the 75-year-old French director, nominated for the Golden Bear for the first time, likes the “ability to let glimpse his pain, his fears“. From Binoche, she rentsemotional power“. The meeting of these two great performers, each accustomed to the director but who had never given the line to each other, sparks in With love and determination.

The film tells the story of Jean (Vincent Lindon), a former rugby player and jailer, who passionately loves his partner, Sarah (Juliette Binoche), a journalist at Radio France International. Their love affair, in a small Parisian apartment, is disrupted by the reappearance of François (Grégoire Colin), Sarah’s former lover and Jean’s friend… Between the two men, Sarah will hesitate, lie, give in. At the risk of losing everything.

This drama, which sometimes gets lost in asides, is a new adaptation of a story by Christine Angot, a close friend of Claire Denis. But unlike their last collaboration, “A beautiful inner sun“This time there is no room for lightness.

It’s not like adultery, it’s more than that“, explains Claire Denis: “In life, it’s like that, there is the past that comes back and sometimes it hurts“. Then very quickly the director adds: “Men are portrayed as humans who can’t resist their sexual urges because they’re men, but women can’t resist either.“.

A memorable breakup scene

Vincent Lindon embodies this masculinity and is also “an actor who opens up, who trusts“, she underlines, while Juliette Binoche is”super feminine» and at the same time, carries «a power“:”It’s a physical and emotional cannon“.

A mix that has proven itself on the set, especially for the shooting of one of the strongest scenes of the film, that of the breakup, hours of night shots in the apartment from which the team came out bloodless .

Claire wanted us to arrive like wild animals, I think, at least that’s what I tell myself“, explains Vincent Lindon. “We had an appointment, Juliette Binoche and I, with Claire Denis, like two people who have been on a journey for 35 years and then, all of a sudden, are going to play together“, he continues.

As actors,we want to give our all, we suffer like stray and abandoned dogs arriving at a country house, we don’t know where“, admits Vincent Lindon. “At first, you can’t even approach them, you have to put bowls, and then you come back two hours later and they have gained confidence. Actors and actresses are a bit like animals“.

In recent months, Vincent Lindon has played several strong roles, including that of a firefighter on steroids in Titanium, Palme d’Or 2021 in Cannes, or a frame crushed by liberalism at Stéphane Brizé. He is currently filming a series, Tikoonon the carbon tax scam under the direction of Xavier Giannoli.

For her part, Juliette Binoche admits having had toadapt“in front of an actor who”like to improvise» and made him «losing his bearings“. “He has an energy and a need to reassure himself that mobilizes an attention that I had never really experienced on a set.“.

There is such an intensity, such a tension between these characters because of this love that comes to shake everything, that these conflicts were necessary to strain the situations to be played, I suppose. We used it, one like the other“, continues Juliette Binoche, who has also just signed for her first series (after a small test in “10 percent“), for Apple TV, where she will play Coco Chanel.

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Berlinale: Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon, the fierce lovers of Claire Denis