Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve news

Interviewed by Stephen Schaefer (Reuters Press Agency) - X-Mas 1996

    Bardot May Bare All But Deneuve Says 'Non'

Catherine Deneuve may be an enduring icon of international glamour, but don't presume that means her life belongs between pages. She's no Brigitte Bardot, she will have you know.
Deneuve was dismissive when asked by Reuters if she would ever write her memoirs. And she was horrified at last summer's autobiography by Bardot, the '50s French sex siren turned animal rights activist.
"I read the Bardot book, and I find it so flat and very harsh. I wouldn't presume to do a psychological study," Deneuve said, looking more like a psychologist herself than the epitome of film glamour in a black and gray suit and large, red-frame glasses.
"(Bardot) had a very tough childhood with a strict education. She never liked doing films and retired very young. Her career had not very many interesting films," Deneuve said of the pouty icon best known for the bosom-baring "And God Created Woman" and "Viva Maria!"
"(Bardot) retired without having done important films. And then to close yourself up in a house with animals and see the world through that! It's very limited. You stop living at 40. It's a limited life if you don't retire to a convent."
If Deneuve sounds harsh in her judgment of Bardot, the "flat" memoirs of the busty star nevertheless made an impression on her. "I don't mean it changed my mind about writing a memoir but it made me a little cooler (to the idea)," she said.

"What people expect in memoirs of an actress is not what I'd be interested in: My private life. That's all people want to know -- and I find that so cheap," she added with obvious irritation.
Deneuve's story as a liberated woman whose children resulted from liaisons with director Roger Vadim and Italian screen star Marcello Mastroianni, and who married British photographer David Bailey at the height of the Swinging '60s-Mod England mania, has already been told and retold. Her film career encompasses several "important" motion pictures by some of the century's greatest directors.
Sipping a cappuccino in the coffee shop of the midtown Manhattan hotel where she was staying, she seemed intrigued by the idea of writing her autobiography -- but turned off by having to satisfy a publisher's gossip quotient.
"I don't know if there is way to talk about what you've done and who you've known that aren't things you'd read in gossip magazines. I'm not interested, even as a reader," she said.
At 53, Deneuve continues to make films that are internationally successful, such as "Indochine," which won her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination three years ago, and last year's "Ma Saison Preferee" (My Favorite Season).
Asked if she had ever considered retiring like Bardot and Greta Garbo before her, rather than aging on film for the world to see and remember, Deneuve replied: "At one time I was quite depressed, I don't remember why exactly. I was shooting a film with Yves Montand and I was in a 'bad' period. It didn't last long but for the first time I was considering to stop."

Deneuve, who lives in Paris, is happy she works mostly in Europe. "Here in the States there's an obsession with age and youth, it's quite scary. It's easier to grow older there. You can feel it, you see it in the magazines: There's still an attraction of women over 45. They're still very attractive."
Deneuve's latest film, Thieves (Les Voleurs), shares that assessment. Even though its semi-documentary visual style is "quite hard, the characters are not that good-looking," she said.
Deneuve plays a professor who discovers, after being married and having become a mother, that she is in love with a young woman (Laurence Cote). Daniel Auteuil, her co-star in "Ma Saison Preferee," is again her leading man but this time they are not brother and sister but rivals for the young woman's affection.
Deneuve shares a scene in a bathtub with Cote. "It's as if it is a love scene between two people who love each other," she said. "You feel the relationship, not from kissing and making love (but) because it's what it says about their characters, what they bring to each other, which is quite soft and tender."
Even in her fifties, Deneuve was not worried about a discreetly photographed nude scene.
"It was a good idea. The bathtub is very intimate and it's better than a love scene in a bed, so I agreed with that."
This is the third time Deneuve has played a lesbian. The first was an obscure French film in the late '70s. The second, 1983's erotic vampire thriller "The Hunger" with Susan Sarandon and David Bowie, won her an enduring lesbian fan base.
Now lesbianism has been on the cover of Newsweek as a hot trend, a situation that dismays the actress.
"I'm worried it's becoming something fashionable, as if being bisexual was a plus more than anything," she said.
"To accept the fact that in a woman and a man there's a masculine side and a feminine side is fine. Maybe today it's easier to accept the fact that a woman and a woman are together. And yet it's still more disturbing for a man to be with a man."