Rendez-Vous (1985): Techine’s Sexually Charged Noir Melodrama, Starring Luminous Juliette Binoche

French director Andre Téchiné’s Rendez-Vous is a film noir-sexual melodrama, dominated by erotically seductive scenes, starring Juliette Binoche. 

The young (and then unknown) Juliette Binoche plays Nina, an aspiring actress, fleeing her provincial home for Paris, where she enters into a turbulent relationship with a sadistic, self-destructive young actor, who was responsible for his former girlfriend’s death.

When the actor himself is killed (in accident, or suicide), his former mentor-director, and father of the dead girlfriend, decide to cast the inexperienced Nina as the female lead in ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ a role his deceased daughter played.

The film explores the inherent violent intensity of sexually based bonds, but also their ability to cause change, pointing to unexpected directions.

A former critic of Cahiers du Cinema, Techine became a prominent director of the post-New Wave  generation of Truffaut, Godard, Resnais, and others.

Rendez-Vous, which I saw at its world premiere at the 1985 Cannes Film Fest (my second edition), earned Téchiné the Best Direction Award and put the luminously beautiful and talented Binoche on the list of top French (and international) stars.