Juliette Binoche: Up close with the 2019 Berlinale Jury head

Juliette Binoche and the Jury team deciding the 2019 Golden Bear

The president: Juliette Binoche

French actress Juliette Binoche will fittingly head the Berlinale jury in 2019, more than 30 years since her first collaboration with Leos Carax, "The Night is Young" (1986), screened in the Berlin competition. A Berlin regular ever since, Binoche won the Silver Bear in 1997 for "The English Patient." Her peerless film resume makes her the perfect pick to adjudicate on the Berlinale bears.

Juliette Binoche and the Jury team deciding the 2019 Golden Bear

Sandra Hüller

Her breakout performance as the "possessed" lead in the 2006 German drama "Requiem" won her the Silver Bear, but Sandra Hüller was ultimately elevated to global stardom with her turn in the Oscar-winning comedy "Toni Erdmann" (2016). Hüller was also at the 2018 Berlinale for her role in the acclaimed German competition entry "In the Aisles," which took home the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury award.

Juliette Binoche and the Jury team deciding the 2019 Golden Bear

Trudie Styler

A revered British stage and screen actress, Styler has also made a name for herself as a producer in recent years, and for directing. Her 2017 directorial debut, "Freak Show," premiered at the Berlinale and was nominated for three awards. Styler, born in 1954 and married to the British singer Sting, is also a regular on the small screen and features in the 2018 Netflix miniseries "Maniac."

Juliette Binoche and the Jury team deciding the 2019 Golden Bear

Sebastián Lelio

A shooting star of South American cinema, Oscar-winning Sebastian Lelio is becoming a familiar face at the Berlinale. In 2013, his film "Gloria" won four awards, including a Silver Bear for lead actor Paulina Garcia — it was also nominated for a Golden Bear. His 2017 drama about a transgender woman, "A Fantastic Woman," won both the best foreign language film Oscar and the Golden Bear.

Juliette Binoche and the Jury team deciding the 2019 Golden Bear

Justin Chang

One of the best known movie critics in the US who currently writes for the Los Angeles Times, Chang is also the chair of National Society of Film Critics. Having also worked as a film critic for "Variety" magazine for a decade, he is regarded as an authority on film editing, while his vast knowledge of cinema will be vital to the jury deliberations.

Juliette Binoche and the Jury team deciding the 2019 Golden Bear

Rajendra Roy

As a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Roy has access to around 30,000 films in the museum’s collection. He curates film retrospectives and has organized film exhibitions on cinematic masters ranging from Wim Wenders to Pedro Almodovar. In 2013 he published "The Berlin School: Films from the Berliner Schule," a book demonstrating his affinity for film in the German capital.

Her vast international film career makes her the ideal Berlinale jury president pick. In France she’s known as the woman with a thousand faces; and yet she is instantly recognizable to audiences around the world.

Since the 1980s, Juliette Binoche has performed in more than 70 feature films and has become a household name in her native France.

But though she has worked with some of France's most important directors — among them Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Doillon, André Téchiné, Leos Carax, Louis Malle, Olivier Assayas, and most recently with Bruno Dumont and Claire Denis — she has also collaborated with the best helmers internationally.

Since her breakout roles in Philip Kaufman's Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), and Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's haunting Three Colors Blue from 1993 — for which she won best actress at Venice — Binoche has been a leading lady for a myriad of the world's top directors.

The young actor won plaudits internationally for her lead role in Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colours Blue"

Lauded across Europe's A-List fests

Binoche's work with Abel Ferrera, Britons Mike Figgis and Anthony Minghella, Michael Haneke from Austria, Israeli director Amos Gitai, Isabel Coixet of Spain, and Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, among many other global collaborators, has given her a rare fluency in the language of world cinema.  

Read moreThe personal and the political at the 2019 Berlinale 

And the French actor's selectivity regarding the roles taken over a 30-plus year career demonstrates her acting versatility — in her home country, where she's known as "La Binoche," the actor is described as the woman with a thousand faces because of the variety of characters she's played on the big screen.

Unsurprisingly, Binoche became the first actress to win top prizes in the trident of major European film festivals at Berlin, Cannes and Venice. And of course, she won an Oscar back in 1997 for her lead performance in The English Patient.

"La Binoche" picks up her Oscar in 1997

A worthy jury head

While turns in Hollywood hits like Chocolat or Godzilla have elevated Binoche from arthouse darling to mega star, she has tended to shun the limelight.

"If a star is someone who gives light, then I can be a star," she once said. "But if a star is someone who goes after money and magazine covers then it's sick and I don't want it." 

Binoche's acting stock-in-trade has been the portrayal of difficult, brooding characters — sometimes with an undercurrent of erotic charisma. Her role in Abbas Kiarostami's romantic drama Certified Copy, for which she won best actress at Cannes in 2010, typified the kind of performance that has made her so respected in her field.  

Related Subjects

Binoche's impressive, and growing (her latest film, Who You Think I Am, will screen out of competition at the 2019 Berlinale), body of work well qualifies her to lead five fellow jurors in sifting through the 17 films competing for prizes at the 69th Berlinale — and eventually announce this year's Golden Bear winner.

Click through the gallery above to get acquainted with the rest of this year's Berlinale jury.