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Beautiful Catherine

The most frequently asked question concerning Catherine Deneuve, who appeared on the last day of the ArtFilm festival [Trencianske Teplíce, Slovakia, summer 2000], was: "What is she like? Is she really THAT beautiful?" - Not ONLY is she beautiful, but also the most skillful of all the people who had the honour to screw the brass tablet with their names on the "wall of fame" (a tradition of the festival). As everyone who was fortunate to see the star could tell, Catherine's beauty remains timeless. She came from Paris accompanied by her long-time visagist and hair-dresser and a single assistant and spent long hours in the Turkish baths of Trencianske Teplíce, of which she was very fond.

The men were charmed by her appearance, saying things like "I always wanted to see her. When I was young, I used to dream of her. And now I see, that I can dream on". The women were charmed by her bright intelligence. Catherine said: "Men only thought up the cathegories of "beautiful, but dull" and "wise, but ugly" women to overrule us easier".

The journalists were disappointed by one single thing : Catherine refused to answer any single "personal question". Not a single word about her daughter Chiara Mastroianni or her son Christian Vadim. She also refused to be interviewed for any other Slovak magazine except of this one.

Which was the film of your youth?
A film of my youth? [laughing]. When I was young, there were not many films made yet. And where I was raised, there were not so many cinemas. What's more, our family had so many members, that we hardly ever had time to go watch films.

How many members?
We were four girls. But when you ask about a film, now I remember one, that we thought perfect when we were kids : it was called "Quand la marabunta gronde" and it took place in Africa. There were many red ants, it was full of adventures that we, being more of country-kids, liked wery much.

Was it a black and white film?

You are the kind of people who remember details well. Do you, for example, remember the hero of the film?
Hmmm, I remember a huge crooked tree, that I felt attracted to and also the ants, that were very much afraid of the tree. And I was very much surprised by the violence of the film. You know, I mean, at those times…

You very often play neurotic women and women…
Oh really? Do you really see me in films as a neurotic?

Well, oversensitive for sure. Or so called "femme fatale", the one changing the fate of men. That is how men perceive you, no?
Really? Give me an example.

Let's say "Le dernier métro".
Oh, but the woman I portrayed there was just like you or me - she tries, under given circumstances, to survive. No, that is no "femme fatale".

What is your definition of "femme fatale" then?
"Femme fatale" is a woman, who knows her value pretty well, who knows, where she's going and why. Such woman negotiates and resists the circumstances and people and can hurt others when it comes to that. "Femme fatale" is poison and very often evil, it's not a person equal to a woman, that may be unpredictible, but strong and all in all valuable. If we want to talk about "femme fatale", then I think the closest would be the heroine of "La sirène du Mississippi".

All right then - your and my image of "femme fatale" differ. But how to call them then? The women who can be dangerous when it's needed?
Yes. Dangerous is the right word.

When you get the roles of women that can be dangerous, women that can hurt and cause grief, you must have a base for portraying such characters. So - what are you like in real life, not on screen?
Me? I don't know. What you see in film and what I really am are two completely different things, really. But I don't think, that there's something to talk about when it comes to the private part of that. If there's something interesting, or exciting about acting, then it's definitely the oportunity to get into extreme situations and portray people with various characteristics and values without having to be ashamed or to feel guilty for really being like that.

And could it be the other way round?
Who knows? But you're right, I do know actresses, who don't like coming from the illusion of a film back to the reality of life, because it's really painful for them. Sometimes they return to emptiness, to a life less interesting than the one they create in a film.

And you?
When I come back from a set, I feel like meeting my friends, go to a restaurant, and be far far away from all those crazy things I was through in the film. My life is much calmer than people imagine. I love simple things, rest and friends that I can rely on. It's really true, that at certain point one gets sick of craziness. Some sooner and some later, I have to say that I had have enough quite early in my life.

Are you sometimes nervous of the way you live? On one hand making of films, travelling from one place to another, studying scripts, diving into the psyche of the characters new everytime… and on the other hand your desire for calm, peaceful everyday life…
Of course I am nervous at times, but it's not the same thing as yearning for the same excitement in real life as in the lights of cameras on stage.

So, when you happen to be nervous?
Frankly? When I'm tired. Tired like now, for example. Always when I give into the pressure of the external circumstances and take more than I can bear.

Not a long time ago you bought a large estate in French country-side. There are plenty of flowers, pastures for sheep, five cats that you accepted as they came one by one. Is this what you always yearned for?
Yes, that is what I yearned for. I don't live in that house, it's just a country-side estate. Most of the time, of course, I live in Paris.

In spite of that - aren't you sad, when you're all alone in that large house, accompanied only by your cats?
No!!! Honestly not. Why should I be sad at such wonderful place in such wonderful house! There are many large windows viewing water, it's a very happy house.

How far is this second home of yours from your flat in Paris?
One hour by car.

Do you drive yourself?
Of course. I like driving a car.

What kind of car do you drive?
Well, it's not a French car, actually. I drive Audi.

When you don't work. do you prefere solitude or, on the contrary, do you need to relish the moments spent with friends?
Both. Sometimes I really need to be on my own. Because when I work, I'm always surrounded by too many people. On the other hand I love to be surrounded by true friends. I like very much to invite them to my estate, because the house is really very large, so we always have a very good time all together.

Do you have a cook, or do you cook by yourself?
When I cook, I cook by myself. And I really like cooking!

Which is your favourite meal you like to cook for your friends - a "welcome meal", for example?
Ah, this is much too personal. I won't tell you this.

You used to be Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic, for years. Do you feel the nationalism of this role? Are you a nationalist?
I don't know if I'm a true nationalist. I don't think that you can measure nationalism by my having been a symbol of the republic. I never had a life that would put me to realizing my nationalism strongly, or even to proving it somehow. I haven't been to extreme situations, I haven't been through war, for example. On the other hand I feel very French, I have the French nationality and I think that I am very French.

Does your nationalism have to do with your announcement, that you don't feel like working in the USA and that you don't like the American films much?
Oh, did I say that? It must have been a misunderstanding! I very much like the American films! I guess I just simply said that in the competition with the American cinematography the French one must fight fiercely for its place in the business. I do like American films, but the problem is that France, as well as other countries, can't resist the pressure of "americanism", that has struck the whole Europe a long time ago. And that is a sad realization for our home, national productions.

I've noticed, that you don't like being outflanked by the questions and that you don't like the inaccuracy of a question and the less the inaccuracy of the answer. Could you reveal, even though it's very personal again, what sign of zodiac are you born in and if you believe in it?
Ah, the second part of your question is really too personal! As for the first part - I was born in Libra.

And are you Libra?
No. I actually think that I'm much more of Scorpio. I was born in between these two and I think that Scorpio fits me more.

Par : Tàna Veselà
Photos : Marta Földešovà, Štefan Laktiš

Magazine slovaque traduit en anglais par Michala

Film associé : Aucun





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