The Cannes Film Festival begins today, Tuesday May 16. The festival this year features plenty of controversy, but also a record number of women directors, plus it opens with a tribute to Catherine Deneuve. She is even the event’s poster girl, using a black and white photograph from the film La Chamade (1968), directed by Alain Cavalier. The festival describes Deneuve as:
“…living a worldly and superficial life, tinged with ease and a taste for luxury. Her heart beats frantically, hurriedly, passionately, an embodiment of cinema, far from what is conventional or appropriate. Without compromise and always in tune with her convictions, even if it means going against the grain of the times…”
In 1994, she served as vice president of the 1994 Cannes jury headed by Clint Eastwood which chose Pulp Fiction for the Palme d’or, and Deneuve received an Honorary Palme d’or in 2005 and a special award of the 61st festival in 2008 for career achievement.
I am decidedly a Kinsey 6 kind of gay guy, but I long ago declared that in that old parlor game- Who Would You Switch For? my choice is easily la magnifique Deneuve.
She has been acting for 60 years, taking roles in more than 100 films in French, Italian and English.
In her early films she seemed chic, but distant, even icy. But then she moved, delightful, into films packed with passion, sometimes with rather kinky sex, like Belle De Jour and Manon 70.
Her personal life has always been interesting, but never scandalous; love affairs in France are rarely scandalous, and she took some of the most brilliant directors and actors of her time as her lovers. I really admire a woman who gets what she wants.
My favorite of her many film performances are in the charming musicals Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, 1964), which won the Palme d’Or at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, plus it was nominated for five Academy Awards, and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls Of Rochefort, 1967), considered by some to be the Best Film Musical ever.
There is also François Truffaut‘s Le Dernier Metro (1980); Indochine (1992), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and brought Deneuve an Oscar nomination; and I especially love the crazy musical 8 Femmes (2002) from the gay filmmaker, François Ozon. Plus, how queer is The Hunger (1982), a vampire movie that received terrible reviews and did not do well at the box office, but that I am always pulled into when I come across it streaming? It features a lesbian love scene with Deneuve and Susan Sarandon!
It seems cruel to come up with a title, with attractive women of all ages, sizes, sexualities, and nationalities, but for me, Deneuve is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN ON OUR PRETTY SPINNING BLUE ORB. She turns 79 years old today. I hope she celebrates with la pâtisserie and champagne even without me.
If you are straight, and I know that you were born that way, what person of the same sex do you crush on? Gay guys and lesbian sisters, who would you switch for?