Actress Catherine Deneuve receives Kristián Award for contribution to world cinematography

Catherine Deneuve, photo: CTK

The celebrated French actress Catherine Deneuve, one of the best-known names in international cinema, has received a lifetime achievement award, the Kristian Award for her contribution to world cinematography, at the 25th annual Febio Fest in Prague. The star of films such as Belle de Jour, The Last Metro, and Indochina, arrived in Prague for the close of the festival.

Catherine Deneuve,  photo: CTK
Catherine Deneuve is nothing less than a legend, having worked together with directors like Francois Truffaut, Luis Bunuel, Jacques Demý and many others. In Prague for the close of Febio Fest, she spoke candidly about her career: what it had been like to work with Gerard Depardieu, who she called very generous as an actor. On the same topic she said she had been a little nervous before the first time she had worked with her daughter Chiara Mastroianni but that that had quickly changed.

“When I worked with my daughter Chiara I thought it would be a little strange at the beginning, you know, it would be someone you know and suddenly you would have to say things to each other from a script. I thought it would be strange.

“But finally, it wasn’t at all. We would go to the make-up room, and everything was very natural. I did another film with here recently that hasn’t been released yet directed by Julie Bertucelli, but the whole thing was much more casual than I thought.”

Receiving a lifetime achievement award like the Kristián for contribution to cinematography is always an invitation, to a degree, for actors to look back on their career. One journalist present suggested the actress, who is 74, could write her memoirs, speculating on all the stories she could tell. But the actress made clear she had no intention of doing any such thing. Deneuve also made clear she was not nostalgic for the 1960s and 1970s when she first achieved fame. Catherine Deneuve again:

“Maybe I enjoy [making films] today more today than I did 40 years ago because I know more about filming and being part of the whole troupe, being part of the crew; because I have friends who write screenplays and who are directors or are technicians. I know more about filmmaking and the process so I also more patient. I wouldn’t say I was happier on set 40 years ago, no.”

Catherine Deneuve,  photo: CTK
She was also asked if she had the chance, would she do it all over again.

“Ah, if I had a second chance would I decide to be an actress? Well, being an actress happened to me.”

She explained that she was just 17 when she got into acting because of her sister and that one film led to another. She acknowledged there were professions she certainly enjoyed – such as architecture or archaeology – but said she was unsure she would have been aware of it at that age.