The AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI FEST, presented by Audi) has announced that screen legend Catherine Deneuve, 64 (next Oct. 22), and two-time Academy Award nominee Laura Linney, 43, will receive career tributes at this year’s festival.
Laura Linney is a likable actress who has appeared in 30 or so films in the last 15 years. Does she deserve a tribute? Why not? Any performer who gets run over by a senile old man in drag – one wearing Linney’s own dress, to boot – merits recognition. Also, she was remarkably good in Kinsey, and held her own in Primal Fear, The Truman Show, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and Driving Lessons (that is, until the auto mishap).
Her two Oscar nods were for You Can Count on Me (which I haven’t seen, yet) and – in the supporting category – for Kinsey.
Now, Catherine Deneuve. I don’t think anyone in his/her right mind would even think of asking if Deneuve deserves a tribute. After all, in the last half century the actress has appeared in about 100 motion pictures, many of which are international screen classics.
She’s worked with François Truffaut (Mississippi Mermaid, The Last Metro), Luis Buñuel (Belle de jour, Tristana), Jacques Demy (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin), François Ozon (8 Women), Roman Polanski (Repulsion), Agnès Varda (The Creatures), André Téchiné (Hôtel des Amériques, My Favorite Season, Les Voleurs), Tony Scott (The Hunger), Manoel de Oliveira (O Convento, A Talking Picture), Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark), Jean-Pierre Melville (Un Flic), and Michel Deville (Benjamin), among others.
Her lengthy list of co-stars includes just about every major name in French cinema, from the 1930s (Michèle Morgan, Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer) and the New Wave (Jean-Pierre Belmondo, Alain Delon, Michel Piccoli, Jean-Louis Trintignant) to France’s top performers of the last several decades (Yves Montand, Gérard Depardieu, Jacques Perrin, Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Auteuil, Fanny Ardant, Patrick Dewaere, Emmanuelle Béart). She also played opposite her sister, Françoise Dorléac, in The Young Girls of Rochefort in 1967. (That same year, 25-year-old Dorléac died in a car accident.)
She has won 2 French Academy Awards, an Italian Academy Award, a (shared) European Film Award, a (also shared) best actress Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, and a best actress Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, along with career awards at festivals in San Sebastian, Moscow, and Bangkok. In addition, she was nominated for an Oscar for her role as a plantation owner in Southeast Asia in Régis Wargnier’s 1992 melodrama Indochine.
Catherine Deneuve is a perfect example of a performer who got better – much better, in fact – as she grew older. After playing numerous ice-cold princesses with, generally speaking, little underneath their creamy white complexion, Deneuve matured into an actress of unsuspected depth.
Actually, I should have said somewhat unsuspected depth. Deneuve, after all, had been perfectly cast as the housewife who enjoys kinky extra-marital romps in Luis Buñuel’s majestically perverse Belle de jour (left, 1967), and had been quite touching – even if dubbed – in Jacques Demy’s all-singing masterpiece The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964).
But her work in those two 1960s films, however effective, pale in comparison to her sexy vampire in Tony Scott’s stylish 1983 horror flick The Hunger (in which Deneuve’s sex scene with Susan Sarandon remains one of the highlights of 1980s cinema); her heartbreaking lesbian, in love with a younger woman and single-handedly bringing to life André Téchiné’s otherwise stilted 1996 drama Les Voleurs; her superb star turn in Nicole Garcia’s intricate 1998 drama Place Vendôme; and her quirky singing and dancing matron in François Ozon’s 2002 musical-cum-melodrama-cum-comedy-cum-murder mystery 8 Women.
The AFI FEST Deneuve tribute will take place at ArcLight Hollywood on Saturday, November 10, prior to a screening of Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s acclaimed Persepolis, which features Deneuve’s voice work (and that of her daughter Chiara Mastroianni).