Film Scouts Diaries

1995 San Sebastian Film Festival Diaries
Film Scouts on a Sea of Sangria II

by Karen Jaehne

Catherine Deneuve- The Ultimate Vagablonde - September 21, 1995

In the "need we say more" department, let me tell you of the thrill of meeting Catherine Deneuve, called "the bride of French Cinema. (At least she's not called the mother).

Her feminine mystique has mythic dimensions, and her face launched thousands of cameras. She has made movies all over the globe and has turned us into cinetourists. We never miss her films. Why?

Because she's a Teflon blonde. More Grace Kelly than Marilyn Monroe?

Because she's got legs? (That was a joke I'll have to explain: in showbiz, a show has "legs" if it has a long run.) But then you should also see Deneuve's legs, if you haven't been to see the re-release of Belle du Jour. The rest of her is in it too.

Why am I going on about this glamorous gal? Because she looks like she would smell nice? Because her feet would be shapely and smooth, even without toenail polish? Her ears small? Because she wants you, but you cannot touch-it would make the Gods crazy!

Because we've watched her glide through films all over the globe-films by Bunuel, Chabrol, Truffaut, Robert Aldritch, Techine, and frankly, anybody who could put together a half-poetic erotic story.

She has graced so many bad films, the latest of which is THE CONVENT, directed by Portuguese Manuel de Oliviera. She plays the wife of John Malkovich, a professor trying to prove that Shakespeare was actually a Spanish poet named Jaques Perez. To do this, he brings his irresistible wife to a monastery, then sits in the library while Don Devil tempts her. It's ludicrous until the last scene when Deneuve comes out of the water like Botticelli's Venus and into the arms of her husband. That one scene is magical and the rest is international co-production pretension. (Incidentally, Shakespeare was not Perez who fled the Inquisition in 1584.)

La Deneuve (born Catherine Dorleac) was here to accept an award on the 100th anniversary of Le Cinema, an Honorary Golden shell. And her very first appearance was played for us: a 20-minute movie by Claude Chabrol called THE MAN WHO SOLD THE EIFFEL TOWER. She's mere window-dressing in this little comedy but saying that is like saying the atom bomb was window dressing for W.W.II.

Here's to the greatest vagablonde of them all. Sell us perfume, sell us yourself...whatever it is we're helpless. We'll buy!

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