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Binoche will receive the honor on Sept. 30 in Zurich at a presentation ahead of a screening of her most recent film, the French-language comedy How to Be a Good Wife. Binoche will take part in a masterclass in Zurich on Oct. 1 where she will discuss her life and career.
“I am very happy to come to the [Zurich Film Festival] in this year that is so special for the world and for the cinema,” Binoche said in a statement. “It’s great that the Zurich Film Festival exists and can defend the cinema and the various international cultures represented through the films it presents to its audience. I’m very touched to be honored with the Golden Icon Award, but above all it’s the films and the directors who made them that will be honored through me.”
“In the year that France is our guest country, it’s a great pleasure to honor a true icon of French cinema,” said Zurich Artistic Director Christian Jungen. “Binoche is an extremely versatile actress who chooses her roles with great care and embodies her characters with such depth, both in dramas and comedies.”
Binoche has been a major figure on the international cinema scene at least since her breakthrough role in Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988). Her turn in Kryszstof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy established Binoche’s arthouse cred beyond a shadow of a doubt. Her performance as a nurse in Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient won her the Oscar for best supporting actress in 1997. She picked up a second Academy Award nomination for her work in Lasse Hallström’s Chocolat.
Binoche is the first French actress to receive Zurich’s Golden Icon honor. Previous recipients include Cate Blanchett, Glenn Close, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Gere, and Sean Penn.
The 16th Zurich International Film Festival runs Sept. 24-Oct. 4.
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