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READ MORE: Watch: Catherine Deneuve is Casino Royalty in Exclusive ‘In The Name of My Daughter’ Trailer
French icon of cinema Catherine Deneuve was just thirteen when she made her big screen debut in André Hunebelle’s “Les Collégiennes” alongside her actress sister Sylvie Dorléac, an auspicious start that set the Paris-born starlet up for a long and rewarding career in the movie business. The early part of Deneuve’s acting career was marked by roles in such classics as “Repulsion,” “Belle de Jour” and “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” though any Deneuve fan could likely tick of ten other favorites of the actress.
A classically beautiful blonde with acting chops to spare, it’s no surprise the Deneuve became such a star — coming from an acting family didn’t hurt matters — but Deneuve’s life-long interest in taking on different roles in a wide variety of productions (though never theater, as even Deneuve suffers from stage fright) has only carried over to the later part of her remarkable career, now encroaching on its sixth decade.
Despite Hollywood’s continuing need for better, richer roles for older women, Deneuve has been able to leverage both her talent and her star power into a series of later-in-life roles that have showcase her evolving talent and uncanny ability to embody a variety of characters throughout different mediums and genres. Deneuve has always worked consistently, typically turning in two to three performances a year. It’s nearly impossible to find lag time in the actress’ filmography, and it’s even harder to find down turns in quality. The actress has also found the time to serve on festival juries, be politically active and even launch her own perfume, of course simply called “Deneuve.”
Since turning fifty in 1993, Deneuve has worked with a stellar lineup of filmmakers, including André Téchiné (an ongoing relationship that has been very fruitful for the pair over the years), Leos Carax, Lars von Trier, Olivier Dahan, Arnaud Desplechin and Christophe Honoré. She’s done both feature films and short offerings, television series and animated work, comedies and dramas, TV movies and mini-series. Deneuve seems hungrier — and more eager — than ever.
The critics have been kind to Deneuve over the years, too. In 2014, she was nominated for her thirteenth Cesar Award — her first nod came way back in 1975, a bit of trivia that also serves to illuminate the breadth of Deneuve’s career and her many accolades — for her work in “In the Courtyard.” Over the years, Deneuve has been recognized by awards bodies as sundry as the Cesar judges, the Lumeires contingent, the Satellite Awards and the BAFTAs (an Oscar, however, remains out of her grasp, though she was nominated in 1993 for “Indochine”).
Even in recent years, Deneuve has kept up a pace she set when she was still in the early part of her career. She starred in three films in 2014 — including that Cesar-nominated turn in “In the Courtyard,” the fact-based “In the Name of My Daughter” and Golden Lion competition entry “Three Hearts” — and she does not appear to be done there.
In May, Deneuve starred in the Cannes opener “Standing Tall,” directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, widely hailed as a smart antidote to the misfire that was the 2014 opener, “Grace of Monaco.” Most critics singled out newcomer Rod Paradot’s performance as the highlight of the modest feature, but Deneuve was also routinely pointed to as a welcome, steady supporting player who peppered her own turn with graceful choices. If there’s one thing Deneuve has in spades, it’s gravitas, something only earned through experience and artistic experimentation.
Indiewire has partnered with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand for September’s Indie Film Month. Enjoy exceptionally creative and uniquely entertaining new Indie releases (“Love & Mercy,” “The Overnight,” “Time Out of Mind,” “Cop Car” and more) all month long on Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand. Go HERE daily for movie reviews, interviews, and exclusive footage of the suggested TWC movie of the day and catch the best Indie titles on TWC Movies On Demand.