Friday, March 25, 2011

French Fridays ~ Catherine Deneuve

I have been an avid reader this week of the reports and analysis of the life, loves and work of Elizabeth Taylor.  There are stars and then of course there are mega-stars.  Just a few years behind Elizabeth we have iconic women like Sophia Loren and Bridget Bardot.  Women whose work and presence rivets us, women with pure magnetism.
About ten years younger than Sophia and BB, we have yet another icon, that both men and women find fascinating, 67 year old Catherine Deneuve~
cdn sweep
Today is the U.S. release of her latest film, Potiche, which has opened to very good reviews.  While “foreign films” seem to get little coverage when they are released in the U.S., I was happy to see Catherine’s photo and an interview with her featured prominently in our local paper.  What would you expect, I suppose, for a French icon?  I’m still trying to find a cinema where Potiche is playing, but I hope to see it this weekend.  I’m a little concerned that co-star Gerard Depardieu is going a little Brando on us, but the chemistry between these two stars is always, well, so French and so wonderful.
While Elizabeth Taylor lived and loved in the public eye, Catherine is extremely private about her personal life.  This has contributed in part to her duality of being the “Ice Queen” while also being one of the most beautiful and watched women in the world.  Her cool image was reinforced by her character in 1967’s Belle du Jour, a film which Alfred Hitchcock greatly admired.  
Great women always have great company, don’t they?  In her younger years Deneuve ran in circles that included the great director Francois Truffaut, her lover Marcello Mastroianni (father of her daughter Chiara), actor and larger-than-life personality Gerard Depardieu (her costar in The Last Metro) and iconic French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.  Catherine remained close friends with Yves Saint Laurent until his death.  Both intensely private people, with their own private suffering.  Catherine was utterly devastated by the loss of her sister Francoise in a car crash in 1967.
While we see little of Deneuve here in the States, the French hang on her every word and action.  She is revered like no other actress; it’s hard for me to name a French celebrity that is bigger than Deneuve.  Can you think of one?
She became well-known in the U.S. with her Chanel perfume campaign of the 1970’s.  Even speaking English, she remains somewhat aloof, somewhat detached, but at the same time fascinating, beautiful, elusive, refined…so French.  Her movements and speech are natural, gracious, yet still reserved.  Watching this old (1996) video clip of her, here, at the time her film My Favorite Season was released, you can see why she is so captivating.  She communicates so much with just a few flicks of her eyelids and other facial movements.
Are you a Deneuve fan or have you seen any of her films?
In April we will be running a small series on French Cinema for French Fridays, including a few giveaways of classic French film noir.  Check back next week for a mega post that will be very very fun~


Auntie Em said...

So many of the earlier movie stars knew how to maintain a sense of elegance and quiet reserve, especially when out in public. It is so sad to see so many of the newer and maybe just as talented stars, lose their dignity and grace. This goes for gentlemen as well as ladies. Can fame and money be worth losing their reputation. Is being captured on film or tape enough to make rehab the next goal in life or a slab in a morgue The place to be?
How sad we don't have more Catherine Deneuves.

Priscilla said...

In what way is my great favorite, Gerard Depardieu becoming like Brando. Depardieu has had a rough life and it shows, but he still has that "something"!

TRay said...

"The Hunger"--1983--Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. Deneuve and Bowie are vampires & really, the only thing cooler than a regular vampire is a FRENCH VAMPIRE.



Beadboard UpCountry said...

Class, elegance,great personal style.... One of my favorites.... Maryanne ;)

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Alyssa and I went to the film house last night to see "Jane Eyre"
and they reviewed "Trophy Wife". It looks hilarious and I can't wait to see it.

classic • casual • home said...

I have those Roger Vivier shoes that she wore in "Belle du Jour." I want to see her new movie too.

Karena said...

Adore Deneuve and will look for her new film...we have several art theatres.

I love that last photo, as my first gift from a boyfriend was Chanel # 5!

Art by Karena

Pamela Mason said...

When you are known as a citizen of the World, by only one name, ala Deneuve....
You are at the pinnacle.

Elegant, graceful... I love Deneuve!

And I'm going to look for that movie mentioned above. Can't wait for French Film Fridays. Mind if I link?

Em from Faded White Linen said...

What a find- you are wonderful and have the most beautiful blog - am loving all of it fro your newest francophile follower.
Em xxx