It’s about time I started the filmography in this blog of one of France’s most beautiful and talented actresses – Juliette Binoche. I’ll begin with André Téchiné’s romantic drama, “Rendez-vous”, which is Mlle Binoche’s earliest starring role and also features her first nude appearance. And what a grand debut it turned out to be..!
Eighteen year old Nina arrives in Paris with stars in her eyes – she wants to make a name for herself in theatre, and she takes up whatever minor roles she could get to keep her going. Free-spirited, she moves out of her theatre usher boyfriend’s flat and meets letting agent Paulot, who instantly falls in love with her. But she prefers they remain platonic friends and falls for his flatmate Quentin instead. But Quentin has issues – he couldn’t forgive himself for a past tragedy, and transmits his hatred to everyone close to him, to the extent that he wouldn’t leave Nina alone even after he dies. His death unexpectedly acquaints Nina with a director Scrutzler, the father of Quentin’s late girlfriend, who decides to cast her as the main character in his stage play, “Romeo and Juliet”. Nina, who struggles at the beginning to understand the character she’s playing, gradually learns what it is to fall in love, get hurt, and relate to the character she initially found so uninteresting.
This is a beautifully written film by Téchiné. We see glimpses of his brilliance in the manner in which he spins a elegant (and earthy) love story around the film’s main theme, which is about the maturing of a raw actress from the provinces. Just as Nina samples, savours, and absorbs experiences from the people she meets, she begins to understand the character she plays – she begins to also understand and fall, in love. The sights and sounds of Paris, the screenplay, the uncompromising performances by all main actors, and the great ending is what makes this a true French film classic. Add to this, the amazing maturity shown by Juliette Binoche who plays Nina – she was only twenty one at the time – the film gives us a preview of what was to come from this gifted actress. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!