Catherine Deneuve has appeared in at least one major film every year since turning 50 in 1993, often starring in several works in the same season in a career which has encompassed, and continues to encompass, work with leading French auteurs. This chapter focuses on three of Deneuve's films: Belle Maman, Dancer in the Dark, and Le Vent de la nuit/Night Wind. It offers an examination of the varied portraits of older women and of the processes of ageing offered by (and indeed to) Deneuve. Through an examination of Deneuve's roles in these three very different films, there will emerge a vision of her portrayal of gendered ageing as multilayered and complex. Deneuve's roles in these three works engage at once with established on-screen images of both maternity and sexuality while posing a series of challenges to the perceived status of '50 plus' actresses on the international screen.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.