The queen is frequently misunderstood. Such is the case with Catherine Deneuve, who is in her sixth decade as a leading lady. The great beauty who became one of France’s all-time biggest stars is defined by her elegance and seductive mystery, associations which made her an obvious casting choice but don’t capture the extent of her great achievements in acting. Shining the brightest in films that pushed buttons and the limits of expectations, Deneuve’s collaborations with top European auteurs created some of their most memorable works. Her masterful abilities have sustained her through decades of difficult and controversial roles. These characterizations became authentic and truthful in her hands; whether she plays a bourgeois prostitute, an uncaring mother, a lesbian philosophy professor, a bitter amputee or a fairytale princess. The veil of mystery in each is part of her brilliance; she performs the hidden self, the well of the unknown in everyone.
In this series, we explore some of Deneuve’s most interesting work with her frequent collaborators. We begin with her breakout leading role in Jacques Démy’s THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, and we return to Démy in one of our favorites (also our Sunday School selection), DONKEY SKIN. Her lesser celebrated work with Luis Buñuel, TRISTANA, is a must see, alongside the favorite, BELLE DE JOUR. François Truffaut’s THE LAST METRO features one of the great Deneuve performances. The series will continue in November with Deneuve-starring films by André Techiné and Arnaud Desplechin.