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From perversion to purity

The stardom of Catherine Deneuve

Edited by: Lisa Downing and Sue Harris

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.

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Pauline Small

Introduction T his chapter investigates Catherine Deneuve’s films of the 1970s; their role in shaping her star persona and – via an exploration of their context – the ways in which they position Deneuve in relation to French political culture. Until recently, little attention has been paid to this period in Deneuve’s career, despite the fact that the 1970s is her most prolific

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Cristina Johnston

explicitly devoted to the question of Deneuve’s on-screen queerness seem fixated on remarkably superficial questions: is Deneuve herself a closet lesbian or bisexual? Did she feel bad about suing the lesbian magazine Deneuve? 5 And did she and Susan Sarandon really use body doubles in The Hunger ? 6 My intention here is to go beyond the necessarily limited material hitherto published on the question of Catherine Deneuve’s

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Incongruous femininity

Catherine Deneuve and 1970s political culture

Bridget Birchall

F or all the risks that the young Catherine Deneuve took with her star image, her roles from the early 1980s constructed a new kind of maturity and coherence that chimed with both her age and her screen longevity. The itinerary of this transition can be best traced through her modish incursion into the 1980s heritage film culture, and more specifically into a series of historical roles written for

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Of faces and roles


Bill Marshall

I n a recent interview with the American gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate , Catherine Deneuve was asked whether she had any plans to return to Hollywood. Her disdainful response highlights the rare position that she inhabits in contemporary cinema, on both sides of the Atlantic: ‘There is such a taste in America for girls. But for women? Hmmp ’ (2002). In the same interview, Deneuve spoke

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The killing of sister Catherine

Deneuve’s lesbian transformations

Andrew Asibong

Belle toujours With Téchiné’s film released in France, and a new perfume launched in the United States, Catherine Deneuve is drawing as much attention to herself as ever. Discussing, elegance, make-up, diet and fitness, she talks to us about beauty

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Demy and Deneuve

The princess and the post-’68 fairy tale

Susan Weiner

(Mario Monicelli, 1985).The aim of the chapter is to identify and analyse the star qualities of Catherine Deneuve as they are manifested in these films. Career profiles of Bolognini and Monicelli (Poppi 1993 : 39–40 and 175–6) show that her work with them can be located exclusively within the traditions of Italian national cinema. However, Deneuve’s most significant Italian films are those she made with Marco Ferreri, in

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‘Madame La France’

Deneuve as heritage icon

Sue Harris

allows an inner potential to emerge’ (‘ce dénuement du jeu … où l’on dégage un potentiel intérieur’) is what he admires in Deneuve: ‘Catherine is rather reserved, it seems there is always something to be revealed in her, that she has never reached her ceiling’ (‘Catherine serait plutôt sur la réserve, il semble qu’elle a toujours des choses à dévoiler, qu’elle n’a jamais atteint un plafond’, Nouvelle revue

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Lisa Downing and Sue Harris

B y 1965, 22-year-old actress Catherine Deneuve had featured in seven films. Of those roles, only one had brought her serious critical recognition: the part of the fresh, innocent heroine of Jacques Demy’s musical extravaganza Les Parapluies de Cherbourg / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964). It was in 1965 that Roman Polanski would cast her in Repulsion, described by one critic as a ‘one

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Peter William Evans

I n the documentary L’Univers enchanté de Jacques Demy/The World of Jacques Demy (Agnès Varda, 1995), Catherine Deneuve paid the filmmaker an actress’s greatest compliment when she described him as ‘the charming prince who woke Sleeping Beauty’. It was, though, a mutual awakening. Deneuve’s screen persona and Demy’s cinema developed in tandem in the first decade of their careers, each a showcase