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Women to Watch: Director Isabel Coixet and Her New Film Project Starring Dafoe and Binoche

by Carlos Aguilar
October 14, 2013 3:00 PM
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Dir. Isabel Coixet

Continuing with her prolific career Spanish director Isabel Coixet has recently just wrapped up production on her film Learning to Drive starring Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson, all before the release of her psychological thriller Another Me this fall via Fox International and starring  Sophie Turner and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. As if that wasn't enough, the director is getting ready to start yet another project titled Nobody Wants the Night, which stars acting giants like Willem Dafoe and Juliette Binoche, and young Rinko Kikuchi.

Coixet is one of a kind, as a woman director she is one of the very few that has also served as camera operator in several of her films, her distinct style and never-ending desire to create new work have earned her a distinct place in international cinema. Her body of work spans to ten films in both the narrative and documentary realms making her one of the most prolific directors workign today. She has premiered her films at the most important film festivals including Cannes’ Official Section, Berlin and Venice, and has worked with many of the most respected actors worldwide

Ben Kingsley on the set of 'Learning to Drive'

2013 was a very busy year for Coixet, finishing Learning to Drive, which is based on Katha Pollitt’s essay and tells the story of a self-absorbed book critic (played by Clarkson) who, after a recent breakup, signs up for driving lessons as part of an effort to move on with her life. Her instructor is a Sikh man living in Queens (played by Kingsley), and together they will help each other to move forward with their lives. Now awaiting the release of Another Me, based on Cathy MacPhail’s young adult novel of the same name about identity anxiety in a teenage girl, played by Game of Thrones’ star Turner in her film debut, the director is also getting ready to start shooting Nobody Wants the Night early next year in Norway.

Her latest project is the story of two women, from two different worlds, and their struggle to survive in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. Josephine (to be played by Binoche) is a proud yet naive woman in love with a man who prefers glory and ice to the comforts of an upper-class home. Allaka (to be played by Kikuchi), a young but wise Inuit woman, is in love with the same man with whom she’s expecting a child. Set against the backdrop of a relentless icy landscape, the film chronicles their long, tense wait for the same man they love in such distinct ways.

Catherine MacPhail's novel 'Another Me'

In 1996 Coixet she made her first English-language film, Things I Never Told You, a moving drama starring Lili Taylor and Andrew McCarthy. International success arrived with the 2003 intimate drama My Life Without Me, based on Nancy Kincaid’s short story, in which Sarah Polley plays Ann, a young mother who decides to hide to her family she has a terminal cancer. This Spanish-Canadian coproduction was a hit at the Berlin Film Festival, from that point on the director's career has grown exponentially and it seems there is no stopping her any time soon.

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