09 April, 2012
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
The stars and star-struck admirers came out last Monday evening as the Film Society of Lincoln Center bestowed its annual Chaplin Award tribute to iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve. Oscar winning actress Susan Sarandon served as Honorary Chair for this year’s Gala, which raises money for the year round film society, and presenters included such stellar names as Martin Scorsese, Glenn Close, Chiara Mastroianni, François Ozon, and James Gray.
New Yorkers have always been hopelessly in love with French cinema, and Deneuve represents the kind of high gloss glamour that only improves with age that still makes her a sex symbol of sorts at age 68. She is the embodiment of the cliché (apparently true) that European women age gracefully and alluringly. However, hers is not a talent simply of beautiful cheekbones. She has a glowing resume of cinema highlights over the past five decades, where she gave indelible performances working with some of the greatest directors in the world. Among her collaborators have been such names as Roman Polanski, Jacques Demy, François Truffaut, Luis Buñuel, Manoel de Oliveira, and Raul Ruiz, among many others. Among her dozens of notable movie roles are her appearances in such classics as THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (Jacques Demy, 1964), REPULSION (Roman Polanski, 1965), THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT (Jacques Demy, 1967), in which she co-starred with her sister Françoise Dorleác, BELLE DU JOUR (Luis Buñuel, 1967), TRISTANA (Luis Buñuel, 1970), THE LAST METRO (François Truffaut, 1980), with Gérard Depardieu, THE HUNGER (Tony Scott, 1983), and INDOCHINE (Régis Wargnier, 1992). In the past few years, rather than rest on her extraordinary achievements, she continues to challenge herself and expand her art, lending her talents and prestige to works by exciting, cutting-edge filmmakers such as Arnaud Desplechin, Leos Carax, François Ozon, Lars Von Trier, Andre Techine and Philippe Garrel.
The Film Society’s Annual Gala began in 1972 and honored Charles Chaplin – who returned to the US from exile to accept the commendation before receiving his long overdue Oscar in Los Angeles. Since then, the award has been renamed for Chaplin, and has honored many of the film industry’s most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas and most recently, Sidney Poitier. Deneuve is only the fourth “non-Hollywood star” to receive the Chaplin Award. Her predecessors were Yves Montand (1988), Alec Guinness (1987), and Federico Fellini (1985). For more information, visit: www.filmlinc.com