A tribute to the grande dame of French Cinema: Catherine Deneuve 

Activist. Provocateur. Icon. Smoker.

Since her film debut in 1957, screen icon Deneuve has become synonymous with French cinema itself. From her sizzling turn in Belle de Jour to Depardieu double act Le Dernier Metro, she's scooped no fewer than 14  César Award Nominations along the way.

As we celebrate the release of sparkling new French comedy drama The Midwife - in cinemas and only on Curzon Home Cinema 7 July - here's our countdown of 11 reasons why we adore Gallic goddess Catherine D...  


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1. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

You think you are getting a romantic musical and in some senses you are but of the arch social realist kind (really what other kind is there?). Apparently it was an inspiration for La La Land. Whatever. Watch this film and you’ll always want to wear a mac the way Deneuve does.


2. Working with the best

The directors Deneuve has worked with are a roll call of French and European greats with some non-safe choices in there:

Buñuel, von Trier, Vadim, Demy, Chabrol, Polanski, Varda, Truffaut, Techine, Ozon….


3. Brains

As well as speaking four languages, she contributes resource to various charities and has spearheaded manifestos, written a book and launched a perfume. She was also the face of France’s national symbol - Marianne - which might not require brains per se, but she donated the proceeds from the royalties to Amnesty which is a pretty smart thing to do.


4. Tenacity

She was such a fan of Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves (1996) that she wrote the auteur a personal letter asking him for a role in a film. The result? A part in Palme d'Or winner Dancer in the Dark (2000).


5. Yves Saint Laurent

Was there ever a designer that said more about vintage glamour? She was his muse. Their partnership started when they worked together for Buñuel's Belle de Jour.

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6. Tea

She drinks tea in parks (probably)


7. David Bowie

She appeared in a film with the Goblin King himself -  Hunger (1983) by Tony Scott. Enough said.


8. Class

She is pithy about awards. In 2013 receiving the ‘lifetime achievement award’ at Berlin commented that: "it's not an award you give to someone who is still alive".

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9. Smokin’

We know we shouldn’t like this, we really do. But JUST.LOOK.AT.HER.SMOKE.

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10. Ageist

 If this is what 71 looks like then we’re in.


11. ‘Her best role in years’

Catch the wonderful Deneuve in her new film The Midwifea bright and charming drama about old acquaintances and new beginnings.

From Friday 7 July in cinemas and exclusively on Curzon Home Cinema.