Meet the French Movie Star Who Dances—Beautifully

August 7, 2017

We’ve talked about Hollywood stars who were dancers first. But what we have coming up is a French movie star who was never a dancer but happens to be a natural mover. I was knocked out by Juliette Binoche’s power and vividness when she collaborated with Akram Khan in In-I at BAM in 2009. She held her own in this careening, entwining, goading duet with the world-class dancer/choreographer.

Now the glamorous star appears in Polina, a new film co-directed by choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and his wife, filmmaker Valérie Müller. The story focuses on Polina, a talented young Russian dancer, played by the Mariinsky’s Anastasia Shevtsova. Polina accomplishes her dream of being accepted to the Bolshoi Ballet, but she takes up with a French dancer who shows her what’s missing artistically: contemporary dance. Enter Juliette Binoche, who plays a famous French choreographer—possibly a female counterpart to Preljocaj himself.

According to the press release, this is one ballet movie that’s blessedly free of life-destroying competitiveness. The plot has more to do with finding oneself through a path toward creativity. Judging from the kind of searching Binoche did with Khan, I think she’ll be the perfect mentor to young Polina.

The film opens on August 25. Click here for the full schedule.