July 5, 2021

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Catherine Deneuve, the triumphant return of the actress “beautiful as death”

Catherine Deneuve the triumphant return of the actress beautiful as

Catherine Deneuve -the great French actress; the one that was once the revived image of the Marianne of the Gallic Republic with the red, blue and white flag in his hands; the muse of Luis Bunuel in the legendary Beautiful day; that watchword of beauty and talent for so many years and generations – returns to the cinema by the hand of The truth, a piece that stars with splendid brilliance and that has a cast that in itself is already a filmic act of great quality: Deneuve, who plays Fabianne -a veteran actress in her struggles- is accompanied by Juliet Binoche -his daughter Lumir, who lives in the United States- and Ethan Hawke -her American son-in-law- who visit her in the company of her little daughter.

The film, which has different narrative layers, was directed by the Japanese Hirokazu Koreeda (winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes for his film We are a family in 2018) opened the Venice Film Festival in 2019, where he won critical acclaim. Time to time, in times of pandemic, The truth It finally arrives in Argentine theaters as of July 8.

Catherine Deneuve

Fabianne is an actress in her middle age – according to the film she is 73 years old, when Deneuve is 77 in reality – who receives a visit from her daughter Lumir, her son-in-law Hank and her granddaughter Charlotte since she has just edited her autobiography. Fabianne is a woman with a strong character and an unscrupulous spirit who, apparently, is not interested in the rest of the world and people and whose ultimate passion is acting. Thus, while his family visits, his assistant for forty years resigns when he realizes that Fabianne does not dedicate a single line to him in the book of his life.

However, it is in the performance that is performed at every moment between people when Fabianne seduces those around her, from the role she plays for her granddaughter as a woman with powers that would allow her to turn people into animals to when she asks. Have your daughter write the lines she needs to say to seek reconciliation. At the same time, and in the tradition of the mirror game of cinema within cinema, Fabianne stars in a science fiction film in which her mother, due to a terminal illness, must travel to space where time is suspended and remains eternally young and visiting his daughter, who remains his fragile daughter when she is over eighty years old and her mother remains anchored at a certain age forever.

Deneuve with Juliete Binoche and Ethan Hawke
Deneuve with Juliete Binoche and Ethan Hawke

In this way, the film not only tells a story of family conflicts, but also asks about the limits or not that reality itself confers on fiction in human relationships. A question that is worth asking each viewer about their own life when leaving the movie theater.

Months after the presentation in Venice of The truth, The family of Catherine Deneuve reported that the actress had suffered a stroke that it would not have alarming consequences, but that it kept her from the public scene during all this time. For decades it had been part of the cultural imagination around the world as an image of beauty. And infinite talent, low proliferation combination, if any.

Deneuve in "Belle of the Day"
Deneuve in “Belle de Jour”

His first massive hit was The umbrellas of Cherbourg, a musical romantic comedy by Jacques Demy in which the sung dialogues gave an account of love and heartbreak, of separation and of the fortuitous encounter in a film that became a cult film, filmed in 1963, with a 20-year-old Deneuve. In 1965 he was filming Repulsion, the film that brought Berlin Bear to Roman Polanski and that shook the public with his provocative approach. In 1967 he filmed Beautiful day, Beautiful by day, by Buñuel, a film classic that delved into the secret life of a woman and did not deny surreal procedures – it earned its director the Golden Lion in Venice. In 1980 he starred The last meter from Francois Truffaut, in which one of the representatives of the new wave it set in motion a narrative in which the Nazi occupation of France was brought to the fore.

In 1984 he was filming the disturbing film of Tony Scott about contemporary vampires titled The anxiety, a disturbing film in which he shared the bill with David Bowie. Indochina, from 1993, which recounted the end of the French colonial occupation in Indochina (later Vietnam), showed her playing a bourgeoisie from the metropolis who owned a plantation in a time of revolutions and earned her an Oscar nomination. Loved and hated Dancer in the dark, from Lars from Trier (filmed in 2000), showed her as an operator friend of the protagonist Bjork and that dazzled in musical scenes in the factory. In 2002 the avant-garde Francois Ozon summoned it for 8 women together with actresses like Fanny Ardant e Isabelle Hupert and that it would be worth them a collective Silver Bear for the best performance in Berlin. And so.

Bong Joon-Ho with Catherine Deneuve receiving the Palme d'Or for "Parasite" in Cannes (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
Bong Joon-Ho with Catherine Deneuve to receive the Palme d’Or for “Parasite” in Cannes (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

It would be endless to list her film stakes, as she was always active, sometimes making two movies per year. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that he put himself under the command of the Argentine Hugo Santiago -maybe one of the best filmmakers this country has provided- in Listen to see… And that Luis Buñuel said about her: “She is beautiful like death, seductive like sin and cold like virtue”.

In recent years Deneuve signed a controversial manifesto in which he opposed the postulates of the #MeToo movement and she defined herself as “a free woman.” Has two children, Christian Vadim, fruit of his relationship with the director Roger Vadim, Y Chiara Mastroianni, which was conceived together with the great Marcello Mastroianni, with whom he had a long relationship.

On Wednesday the Cannes Festival begins. The iconic French actress, a regular at the festival – but who has never been awarded at it – stars in the film by Emmanuelle Bercot In his lifetime (Out of competition) will return to the red carpet of this cinema meeting, perhaps just to show that being “beautiful as death” is, in short, an antidote to it and a passage to eternity.

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