“You have to know how to say no to things so that you don’t end up in a kind of situation where you are seen in a certain way,” said Binoche, who is one of France’s most recognised actors.
When she was offered roles where she was “somebody’s woman, or objectified as a woman”, she turned them down.
“I just said ‘no’ because I wasn’t interested,” the 58-year-old told reporters, admitting that she felt “very lucky” to have played so many interesting parts throughout her career.
“I know there are women who are victims of this.. but you have to know how to reject this kind of codified cinema,” said Binoche whose role in The English Patient (1996) won her an Oscar for best-supporting actress.
“It’s not always easy but you have to know how to take a leap into the unknown where these chauvinistic codes no longer apply.”
Binoche, who has taken on some 75 different parts since her silver screen debut in 1983, says she tries to “never judge a role, but to embrace it with all its contradictions, all its darkness, and for what ultimately makes it
“And when a storyline leads to an evolution or a transformation, that’s what interests me most.”
On Sunday evening, the festival will present Binoche and Canadian director David Cronenberg with an honorary Donostia award in recognition of their careers.
Past recipients of the Donostia award — the festival’s highest honour — include actors Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Ian McKellen and Robert De Niro.
Last year’s honours were awarded to French actor Marion Cotillard and Hollywood star Johnny Depp.