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I'm shy, I'm extremely shy. I could never empty my handbag in front of anyone. I find it so excruciating to play nude scenes. For "Belle de Jour", in the most difficult scenes, to overcome my modesty I had to take a few strong drinks. One must always help oneself to reach where one must go. I got there I hope, but it was hell. I don't even run around naked in my own house very much. I don't think there are many actresses to whom nude, very explicit physical love scenes come easy. There's a simple reason for female reluctance. Clothes are like a new virginity, but, above all, not that many women are proud of their nude bodies. Bardot is a phenomenon. She likes her body. It's magnificent and it's logical therefore that nude scenes should come naturally to her. Interviews, nude scenes, those moral and physical stripteases are equally painful to me; they throw me in to a panic. But for me, as an actress, the most important thing is to conform to the desires of the director - to watch what I inspire such people as Buñuel, Polanski, Truffaut to do with me. It's coming to a new part with a strong feeling of how I see the part and still abandoning myself to the director. The movie I'm making with Truffaut, "La Sirène du Mississippi" - it's a very tough part for me. The girl is so different from me, so strong, so sure of herself, so aggressive. There's one scene I know I'll find extremely hard to play, but Truffaut is so modest about nudity himself and he has such a tender sense of hum or that I'm sure I'll be relying on him completely and relaxing.

In my profession it's essential to be relaxed, to control those dry little nervous gestures - tension that shouldn't be there - that betray a scene. At this point of my life my main preoccupation is not to lose control of myself. People who don't like me, the public that doesn't like Catherine Deneuve, they say, "Nothing happens on her face. She's always the same. Not an actress. Catherine Deneuve is a pretty presence - that's all". Yes, my face doesn't move like that of many actors, through the whole gamut of emotions. I don't like that type of acting. If you speak of the greatest cinema actors, who are they ? Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Greta Garbo. Not people with a wide range of expressions, but actors, whose main quality is what looks like complete ease of movement. By natural inclination, I've never been drawn toward people, toward men who wear their program on their faces. I need more ambiguity. I hate what's too quick, too bare, too uniform in our era. And about tomorrow I have no excitement; merely, as Jean Cocteau used to say, a curiosity. I don't feel young any longer. So much happened to me between the ages of 17 and 22. I'm 25. It bears something definite about it. A quarter of a century. What frightens me is to find myself, all of a sudden, with life leaking through my fingers. I used to go out a lot. I used to love the night, to dance and see lots of people. Now I can no longer do it. I'm afraid of the night. I have such anguishes, such moments of distress when the day turns into night, and deep at night, also. What I love best is my house; it's where I feel most protected. I love having a few friends for dinner and cooking a special dinner for them. I can no longer be with strangers. If I stay in a hotel, I always prefer a room to a suite to avoid having strangers around. Come to think of it, the only moment of my life I felt everything in and around me was normal, everything was like I thought life should be, was when I was pregnant.

I want many more children. I believe one can manage all - have a great career and a happy family life with a man, children and all. I know I work too much. I don't see enough of my son, whom it makes sad, and his sadness saddens me. As soon as I mention my boy, everyone asks why I didn't marry Vadim. Again, as in most things in my life, the answer is my pride. Vadim and I were about to get married when, on the eve of the ceremony - but literally on the eve - something happened in his family and the situation changed ; we didn't marry. When Christian was born, when Vadim said, "Let's get married", I know his reasons were now dictated by society. I just couldn't accept. When you've been as much in love with a man as I had been with Vadim, you can't accept marrying him for any reason but love. People say I'm against marriage. Obviously all this has nothing to do with being for or against marriage. The fact is I married David Bailey, because I was madly in love with him. I was convinced our marriage would last. It wasn't too much separation that ended it; in three years we probably spent an average of three days a week entirely together. Deeper reasons ruined our marriage and it came to me as a shock to discover how easy it is to say, "I'm divorcing you". A woman has three security valves, a man, a child, a job ; in my code it stand in that order, yet in my real life, the order is reversed. Also, I believe that only a man with whom I would like to make a couple should be able to calm my anguishes, my distresses; yet in real life it's my work that does that. I hate to admit all these contradictions in myself ; that's why I'm really allergic to interviews.

I'm very much for maintaining a certain distance, a certain formality between me and others - even people I really love. I adore my parents, it's a real relationship, yet I never was intimate with them. The only human being I could tell everything was my sister Francoise. She and I were so diametrically different; put together we would have been a fantastic woman. I'm not easily involved in anything; I'm totally pessimistic. There's no better world after death, not for me. It's touch on earth, that's all I believe in. Life is a jungle. You eat or get eaten. Passion is the only way out. For me, the greatest luxury on earth would be to be able to abandon myself to passion.

Par :

Films associés : Belle de jour, La sirène du Mississipi

Documents associés

Roger Vadim
David Bailey

François Truffaut
Françoise Dorléac