I caught up with legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve at the Cannes Festival to discuss the animated film “Persepolis” currently showing in competition. We also talked about how the festival compares to others, and what is her own favorite film out of her long career in cinema.
Screen Comment – will you be in Cannes for the week?
Catherine Deneuve – I never stay long. When you’re in Cannes you’re very busy, there’s not much time to see the films, sit at a table and have a chat.
Is Cannes the ultimate of film festivals?
No, Venice is. There, it’s only about the films, there’s no media frenzy like here. Cannes has a big market aspect which makes it a very busy festival. The selection was very interesting this year, it’s a good experience. In Venice, on the other hand, you come back to the same hotels, you can keep your drink wherever you go.
How many times have you been here? Do you even keep count?
How many times have I been at Cannes? (thinks a while) At least 35, probably.
Cannes has changed so much, I’m sure.
Well, yes, there’s too much media nowadays, too much sponsoring. It’s becoming very fluffy, too much marketing. Not enough glamour. It has changed, it’s not the same way, not the same look, there are cameras everywhere.
And the media has changed, too.
Yes, you can go anywhere on the internet, there’s garbage, there are wonderful things, il y a de tout (there is everything). You have to be very strong-minded, otherwise you will be eaten. You have to fight a little more. For young actors the pressure and the number of journalists, it’s incredible. And all these magazines who judge people, it’s very boring.
Roman Polanski walked out of the ‘Chacun son Cinema’ (to each his own cinema) conference; I suppose you heard about it? Do you meet with director friends in Cannes much, have diner?
I know Polanski, I see him in Cannes, but except for Andre Techiné I can’t say that I keep in touch with that many directors. You work, you work, you do something together, and then suddenly you are very busy again.
Of all the films you have done, which one remains your favorite?
I still say it was “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”
That film is unforgettable. Would you elaborate?
To do a film completely with music like an opera was an incredible experience. But to work with music all the time, it’s such a lift, you know? It’s an opera, it’s very different.