Catherine Deneuve is not that fond of reminiscing, even as she prepares to collect a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice International Film Festival.
“We don’t have time to look backwards,” Deneuve told reporters Wednesday, hours before her award. “This is our present and we have to continue to go forward.”
At 78, the legendary French actor is as busy as ever. She’s just wrapped up one film in Paris and is starting another soon in Belgium. The industry environment, she thinks, is better for older women, and actors, in Europe than in America.
Deneuve has a long history with the Venice Film Festival, going back to 1967 when she won the Golden Lion for her portrayal of a well-heeled housewife who starts working at a brothel in Luis Buñuel’s classic “Belle de Jour.” In 1998, she won the festival’s Volpi Cup for “Place Vendôme.” She’ll collect this latest honor, another Golden Lion, at the festival’s opening night.
Though she is often described as an icon of cinema, Deneuve rejects the term for herself. She also said she doesn’t think she was ever a “sex symbol” either.
But she still treasures the films she made with directors Jacques Demy (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “The Young Girls of Rochefort” and “Donkey Skin”) and François Truffaut (“The Last Metro”). Demy in particular, she said, was very important in her early career when she hadn’t yet had much experience in film.
“Today, the important things are the same: The story I want to tell … the screenplay … the environment we create … the people I will spend time with,” Deneuve said.
She also continues to seek out new movies — and wants to see them in a crowd at a theater.
“I love cinema. I love going to the cinema,” she said. “I want to be in a cinema with people I don’t know. It’s not just the sound. It’s the atmosphere. At home, it’s very different. You don’t feel things the same at all.”
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