Actress Juliette Binoche received the Golden Icon Award at the 16th Zurich Film Festival, becoming the first time in its history, the festival presented its most prestigious accolade for an actress to a star from France.
The Frenchwoman thanked Christian Jungen, the Zurich Film Festival and all the people who supported her on her way from the bottom of her heart.
The French actress presented “How to Be a Good Wife” (La bonne épouse), Martin Provost’s comedy in which she plays the conservative director of a school for housewives who is confronted with female emancipation on the eve of the 1968 revolution.
Binoche is regarded as one of the most versatile actresses in France and also spoke in her acceptance speech about various forms of change; from the process she undergoes in embodying each role to the social upheaval that films can portray: “Now in this time of transition we are living through, it is a question of finding a way to create stronger links between us, hoping that films will be at the rendezvous on today’s major issues, and to lower the weapons of our fears.”
Binoche accepted the Golden Icon Award from ZFF Director Christian Jungen, who praised her as being “a character actress who has transformed over the years into a true icon of the big screen through her exceptional craftswomanship and unwavering passion. In France. In Europe. Around the globe.” Jungen went on to say that the history of auteur cinema could be written on the basis of the list of directors she has collaborated with, which spans from André Téchiné to Krzysztof Kieslowski, from Abbas Kiarostami to Hirokazu Kore-eda.
This is already the second time that Binoche has attended the ZFF. Talking about her first visit, she said: “I was impressed by the festival’s dynamism when I met the public in 2014. Meeting people who are passionately interested in other people and cultures has continued to drive me forward, because it is exactly that which fascinates me about every new film I work on: the discovery of new worlds and, through the characters I play in them, the ability to enable audiences from around the world to explore new universes for themselves. Many thanks to the Zurich Film Festival.”
Former recipients of the Golden Icon Award include Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Penn, Hugh Jackman, Michael Douglas and Sylvester Stallone.