Few screen icons have provoked as much commentary, speculation and adulation as the 'she' of this plaudit, Catherine Deneuve. This book begins with a brief overview of Deneuve's career, followed by a critical survey of the field of theoretical star studies, highlighting its potential and limitations for European, and particularly French, film scholarship. It argues the need for the single-star case study as a model for understanding the multiple signifying elements of transnational stardom. Her first role, at the age of 13, was a brief appearance as a schoolgirl in André Hunebelle's Collégiennes/The Twilight Girls. It was in 1965 that Roman Polanski would cast Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, described by one critic as a 'one-woman show' in a role that would effectively create a persona which would resonate throughout her future film career. The darker shades of the Deneuve persona are in even greater evidence in Tristana. Demy's Donkey Skin is arguably an equal source of the tale's iconic status in France today, and largely because of Deneuve. The book also investigates films of the 1970s; their role in shaping her star persona and the ways in which they position Deneuve in relation to French political culture. The book considers exactly why directors gravitate towards Deneuve when trying to evoke or represent forms of female homosexual activity on film, and to consider exactly what such directors actually make Deneuve do and mean once they have her performing these particular forms of lesbian relation.
Catherine Deneuve cinematic queerness has often emerged from on-screen evocations of a wide range of 'perverse', paradoxical or blank heterosexualities. In 1983 Deneuve's lesbian moments on film reach their peak of exposure with a vampire film The Hunger in which she plays Miriam, last in an ancient race of apparently immortal vampires, able to bestow the gift of several centuries of youth to her chosen partners. This chapter considers exactly why directors gravitate towards Deneuve when trying to evoke or represent forms of female homosexual activity on film. It also considers exactly what such directors actually make Deneuve do and mean once they have her performing these particular forms of lesbian relation. Belle de jour provides a useful point of entry into understanding lesbian sadomasochist cinema's potential for the demystification of the Deneuvian persona.
in Deneuve’s private life would seem to be an exercise in (at worst)
voyeuristic frustration or (at best) masturbatory fantasy. 8 We need to establish some kind of methodology in
our reading of Deneuve’s on-screen lesbianisms. We need to consider exactly
why directors might gravitate towards Deneuve when trying to evoke or
represent forms of femalehomosexualactivity on film, and to consider
exactly what such directors actually make Deneuve
Stalin GULAG, male and femalehomosexualactivity was highly visible too. Although male homosexual relations were often marked with rape and sexual abuse of younger inmates at the hands of older or more ‘criminal’ inmates, some same-sex liaisons could be consensual. 7 Lesbian relationships, according to the GULAG memoirists, were less violent and often gendered – ‘masculinised’, tougher women cohabited with more submissive ‘feminine’ partners – and such couples mounted stiff resistance to the authorities’ attempts to separate them. 8
A handful of indictments and
used in the medical treatment of homosexuality by the Department of Sexopathology and offered to MVD officials as an effective means of combating homosexuality in prisons.
Although the cooperation between Soviet sexopathologists and MVD officials was mostly focused on male homosexuality, femalehomosexualactivity in prisons was also considered by MVD officials. For example, it was briefly discussed at the All-Union conference for the deputy chiefs of female penal colonies held in Moscow in 1973, the proceedings of which are contained in a brochure entitled