In 70 minutes, Binoche runs on stage, throws herself on the floor, leans against the huge wall, poses on the shoulder of Khan and even fights with him. You could hardly guess she started dancing only a year ago. Khan delivers his lines as an experienced actor. Clearly both are emotionally and intellectually engaging.
Binoche really enjoys the challenging collaboration, saying: "With Akram, I felt that we could confront and share new desires, hopes and visions through our respective arts by inventing a common language. The path that we've taken is changing me radically. I never know what I'm capable of before I do it."
Khan also treasures the partnership. "Throughout my career, I have sought out unexpected collaborations with other artists to explore ideas and themes that are important to me," he says. "The work with Juliette has pushed me in unexpected directions and been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I think we are both moving outside our comfort zones through working together to create something completely new."
Born in Paris to a sculptor father and a theater director/actress mother, Binoche has both a gift and a wide interest in art. As a world-known actress, she also writes poetry and has a passion for painting. For In-i, she wrote the text and painted sketches.
"I try not to repeat myself as an actress, or as a person," she says. "I don't see art as being an expression of something outside of myself. Writing, painting, acting or dancing, these are all genuine needs and I just want to do it.
"And I don't put each of them aside. I had no trained body but when I dance, I feel paint in the air, and when I paint, I feel dance on paper.
"To me, the profession of filming is writing a letter to the director and audience. It finishes filming, it is sent out. This is one-way. But sometimes I want the letter back. So I write poetry and paint to record the emotion. To some extent, filming is too intense. With these paintings and letters I revive my urge."
The veteran film actress is enjoying her time on stage.
"I love sharing the present time with the audience in the theater," she says. "I long for the ritual of going back to relive the trajectory of a play and of a character each night. In films, every day is a re-adaptation of new scenes, places and atmosphere. And if you make a mistake, you can do it again. But on stage, you cannot, it is one-go art. And acting is the same inward magnifier of human nature. The medium is not important, the most important is your commitment."
Binoche and Khan will give the performance on April 3-5 at the Meilanfang Grand Theater.