The Private Diaries of Catherine Deneuve: Close Up and Personal

Overview

The startling portrayal of an icy, sexually adventurous housewife in Louis Buñuel's Belle du Jour established Catherine Deneuve as one of the most remarkable and compelling actresses of her generation. Forty years later, Deneuve is still widely regarded as one of the grande dames of French cinema. Despite her international appeal, however, Denueve has always chosen to avoid the ferocious glare of Hollywood and seldom allows the public into her private life. In these memoirs, Deneuve takes the reader behind the ...
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Overview

The startling portrayal of an icy, sexually adventurous housewife in Louis Buñuel's Belle du Jour established Catherine Deneuve as one of the most remarkable and compelling actresses of her generation. Forty years later, Deneuve is still widely regarded as one of the grande dames of French cinema. Despite her international appeal, however, Denueve has always chosen to avoid the ferocious glare of Hollywood and seldom allows the public into her private life. In these memoirs, Deneuve takes the reader behind the scenes of her life and career in this fascinating collection of seven previously unpublished diaries that she kept while filming abroad. In her own words, Deneuve charts the shooting of films such as The April Fools; Tristana, directed by Luis Buñuel; Indochine; and Dancer in the Dark. Including a never before published interview with famed director Pascal Bonitzer, this memoir is an intimate look into Deneuve's life both on and off screen, and is every bit as riveting as her movie persona.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

French actress Deneuve is considered not only one of the great beauties of world cinema but also an accomplished artist who has appeared in classic films directed by masters such as François Truffaut, Luis Buñuel, and Roman Polanski. Including diaries of film shoots, a recounting of a visit to the Cannes Film Festival, and an extended interview with director Pascal Bonitzer, her diaries do not make up a complete record of Deneuve's adult life or the making of her films. She did no writing between 1969 and 1991, so there is little about her longtime personal and professional relationship with Truffaut or his early death. Readers, too, may end up confused owing to the lack of notes. Regarding her beloved older actress sister, Françoise Dorléac, Deneuve writes, "she still haunts me at night," but nowhere is it explained that Dorléac was killed at age 25 in a fiery car crash. To make matters worse, the entries aren't arranged in chronological order. While there are some insights to be gleaned here, particularly Deneuve's surprising assertion that she coveted Meryl Streep's part in The Bridges of Madison County, this is a mixed bag overall. An optional purchase for large public libraries and academic film collections.
—Stephen Rees

Kirkus Reviews
The legendary Deneuve, between takes. The French icon's film diaries project the very qualities that made their author an international figure of fascination: They are elegant, suffused with sensual beauty and intriguingly remote. The actress proves an impressive writer, waxing lyrically on her time in Vietnam filming the acclaimed Indochine, describing the exotic landscapes, energetic people and the oppressive heat with the observational acumen of a born novelist. Deneuve is surprisingly engaged in the technical process of filmmaking, keenly aware of the myriad variables that contribute to the success or failure of a scene, and she is not shy about making suggestions to her directors. She is particularly good on the subject of directors: very sympathetic to Roman Polanski, admiring of Regis Wargnier and riveting on the idiosyncrasies of surrealist director Luis Bu-uel (whose Belle de Jour made Deneuve a world-wide star), her observations affectionate and full of fascinating insights into his work habits. The consistency of Deneuve's tone is remarkable; the earliest diaries included date from the production of the 1968 romantic comedy The April Fools, and the 25-year-old Deneuve's perspicacity is in full flower. But while she is amusingly critical (she reveals a low opinion of America) and tetchy (she hates air conditioning and frequently complains of sleepiness and sore throats), there is something fundamentally reserved about Deneuve that chafes a bit: This ravishing, talented woman bore the children of Marcello Mastroianni and Roger Vadim, was a critical part of more than a few shocking, boundary-bursting films, and she survived Lars von Trier and Bjork-but the emotional tone of herrecord remains cool and measured, excluding the passionate messiness that must have marked such a life. Whether this indicates dignity or an ungenerous reticence is the reader's call. Also disappointing is the relatively small pool of films reflected in the collection-her recollections of the filming of such classics as Belle de Jour, Repulsion and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg are sorely missed. An exquisite but bittersweet madeleine of a memoir, sublime in the tasting but ultimately unsatisfying.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933648361
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Denueve's breakthrough role came with Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. She has worked with cinema's finest directors, starring in Buñuel's Belle de Jour and François Truffaut's iconic Le Dernier Métro. In 1992 she won a César Award and was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Indochine.
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