Catherine Deneuve is 80 years old: 10 little-known gems from her filmography

Catherine Deneuve is 80 years old: 10 little-known gems from her filmography

A look back at some “biscuit” but significant works from the career of the French icon.

Catherine Deneuve is a great actress. She has toured with the greatest, from Jacques Demy to François Truffaut, including Luis Buñuel, Roman Polanski, Agnès Varda, Robert Aldrich, Jean-Pierre Melville, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Lars von Trier and many others. An exemplary career punctuated by success and prestigious awards: two Césars for best actress, and an acting or honorary prize at the three biggest film festivals: Cannes, Venice and Berlin.

To celebrate Queen Catherine, who is celebrating her 80th birthday today, we could have looked back on her essential roles, but we preferred to look at the “encore” filmography of this chameleon actress, at ease in all types of characters and all genres. The opportunity to introduce you to some little-known gems that are worth the detour.

Arte starts its cycle on Catherine Deneuve this evening

Lost souls by Dino Risi (1977)

In the cinema, Venice almost always arouses a deadly fantasy among filmmakers. The old, dilapidated palaces whose prestige comes only from a flickering memory are tombs. As for the streets, they form a mental labyrinth with no way out. Here Risi, who laughs little, locks Gassman and Deneuve in a gigantic dusty house. The couple maintains the illusion of a bourgeois life long extinct. In fact, they may well be ghosts. A young man pushes open doors that he shouldn’t push, Deneuve speaks in an Italian that is not his and Gassman, giallesque, belches in his mother tongue. Strange and crazy.

Watch Lost Souls on VOD on Première Max

The creatures by Agnès Varda (1966)

I have been a friendly creature. I shot in participation out of friendship for Agnès because it was quite a strange film. I played a mute creature. I was Piccoli’s wife », Explained Deneuve to the magazine Ecran in 1978. Except that The Creatures were devoured by the press of the time, shaping the distant relationship that the actress would subsequently maintain with the writers: “ …I prefer not to talk about it, because that would make me very aggressive towards people who criticize in a very despicable way… » We saw again The Creatures. It is clear that Deneuve doesn’t say a word and that the film, wandering on the island of Noirmoutier by a writer lacking inspiration, is not bad at all.

Lisa by Marco Ferreri (1972)

Internationally, as in France, one of Deneuve’s most emblematic roles remains that of Beautiful day (Luis Buñuel, 1967) An extreme character where the young Deneuve (24 years old) manages to suggest abandonment in restraint. “ Buñuel did not show the tip of a breastremembered the film’s co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière. Deneuve was afraid that he would lead her into surreal delusions but they agreed together that everything had to be handled wisely. She blended into this spirit with intelligence. » Marco Ferreri, who will film it four years later in this Lisa, will take less tweezers. Deneuve dressed as Eve on an island with Mastroianni plays the “female dogs” literally to win back her companion. The actress, suddenly animal, becomes fatal again. This will all end badly.

The City of Dangers by Robert Aldrich (1975)

Burt Reynolds, who had certainly not seen Truffaut, Demy or Buñuel, would have placed only one condition on Robert Aldrich for his City of Dangers : “ I’ll do the film if you get me “Mademoiselle Chanel” for the role. » Deneuve plays here a prostitute disguised as a cop (Reynolds therefore, who spends his time undressing the French woman) stuck in a criminal investigation where sex – well! – is important. The plot is as thin as Deneuve’s hair is thick. On the soundtrack, Aznavour coos in VO.

Once upon a time there was a legion by Dick Richards (1977)

Bad memory of filming for Deneuve, it seems, a little lost in the middle of this war film which smells of hot sand and seventies Europudding (Terence Hill, Gene Hackman, Max Von Sydow, Rufus, Ian Holm… there even Liliane Rovère). In fact, this film which would like to be the heir to Lawrence of Arabia (for the desert and the music of Maurice Jarre) and Paths of Glory, all sold in France like a Leone, has aged better than one might believe – even if its displayed antimilitarism suddenly transforms at the end into an ode to the army. And then, this allows us to take stock of the Deneuve aura internationally: we notice that you just have to drop her in the middle of the desert for everyone to suddenly revolve around her. We are satisfied with that: the war, the desert, a good musical theme by Jarre, Catherine Deneuve… Cinema is great, all the same.

It only happens to others by Nadine Trintignant (1971)

Shortly after the sudden death at 9 months of Pauline, the daughter she had with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Nadine Trintignant created this heartbreaking film about the death of an infant as if to exorcise the tragedy she experienced. Catherine Deneuve plays this broken mother and suggested a certain Marcello Mastroianni whom she had just met to play her love on screen. This will be their first film of their four films together, the one where their love story will be born.

Genealogies of a crime by Raoul Ruiz (1997)

In this psychological thriller inspired by the Hermine Hug-Hellmuth affair, a pioneer of psychoanalysis murdered in 1924 by her 18-year-old nephew, Catherine Deneuve plays a dual role: a lawyer and her aunt… whose alleged assassin she agrees to defend . Dominated by macabre and surreal humor, the first of his two collaborations with the Franco-Chilean filmmaker (before Le Temps Regain) was awarded a Silver Bear at the Berlin festival.

La Chamade by Alain Cavalier (1968)

Catherine Deneuve shines as a venal young woman who leaves her wealthy lover (Michel Piccoli) for a young intellectual (Roger Van Hool) with whom early passion will quickly give way to boring routine. An adaptation of the eponymous novel written three years earlier by Françoise Sagan and which earned Alain Cavalier his first major public recognition.

The all new Testament by Jaco van Dormael (2015)

A cushy career management, resting on her acquired knowledge, very little for her. In this well-troubled tale where God lives in Brussels and sees his daughter rebel against his odious behavior, Catherine Deneuve plays a woman in love… with a gorilla who replaces her husband in the marital bed. “ On set, nothing scares him », Confided Jaco van Dormael who had the idea of ​​entrusting him with this role when seeing his passionate commitment to the debates on marriage for all.

Watch The Brand New Testament on VOD on Première Max

I want to see by Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas (2008)

What can cinema do in the face of world tragedies? Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas try to find a concrete answer to this question by taking with them the person who symbolizes the seventh art in their eyes – Catherine Deneuve – in July 2006 on a journey to the heart of Lebanon torn apart by a new war. And the actress evolves superbly on this ridge between documentary and fiction, between message of peace and tragic inventory of destruction. A film that resonates strongly with what we are currently going through.

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