|Catherine Deneuve in Venice
On Saturday morning, I woke
in my suite at the Hotel des Bains on the Venice Lido, and stood at the
huge window and stared out over the sea in the beautiful, almost autumnal
light. I had a coffee in my room.
I had hardly slept at all during the night. I was president of the jury
at the Venice Film Festival for the first time, and had spent nine exhilarating
days and nights watching 22 films in competition, and many more others
outside competition, and chairing a brilliant jury who had all been very
close, despite our differences. Now I was coming to the end of a rush
of stress and tension.
I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland,
crossing over to the other side to be part of the people who look, critique
and judge. It was a strange feeling. It taught me something that in my
heart I suppose I already knew - the difference between an actor who wins
and one who doesn't is minuscule. There are no losers at a festival such
as Venice, which is purely devoted to appreciating good films. There are
I went downstairs to chair our final jury meeting before the prize ceremony.
It should have been a quick recap of the previous night's decision-making,
but instead it went on for almost two hours. The one thing we all agreed
on very quickly was the winner, the Chinese film Still Life. There are
films that you watch and immediately know are brilliant, but even so you
still have to see how a film touches you a few days later.
After our jury meeting, I felt ill - I was so exhausted and emotionally
torn that my stomach felt upset and I needed a breather. I took a boat
out to sea by myself, to get some air and revive my spirits. Then I went
into Venice for a few hours. I didn't have time for lunch, so I just ate
an ice cream while walking down the street, like a little kid. It did
In the afternoon, I spent an hour and a half preparing for the awards
ceremony. Knowing how nervous I would be, I had asked Jean-Paul Gaultier
for a very simple dress. Comfortable heels are also important in situations
such as these. I had been so exhausted in the morning that, standing in
the wings, I didn't have the familiar heart-flutters I normally get before
filming or appearing. After the awards, there was dinner and drinks until
the early hours of Sunday morning.
It was a sad time, too, because I'd spent 10 days bonding with a jury
of people I hadn't known before, such as the Spanish director Bigas Luña
and the American director Cameron Crowe. This was our final farewell.
On Sunday, I packed and flew back to Paris laden with luggage and purchases
of Venetian blown-glass. Once at home, my plan was to get back into a
normal sleep pattern before shooting starts on my next film. But, still
in Venice mode, it was 3am before I got to sleep.
Photo : Alberto Pizzoli