PARIS — Legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve will receive the 8th Lumière Award at France’s 2016 Lumière Grand Lyon Film Festival, a unique event which focuses near totally on film classics.
Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodovar and Martin Scorsese figure among past recipients of the Lumière Award. They all travelled to Lyon to pick up the award, granted by Lyon’s Institut Lumière, run by French director Bertrand Tavernier and Cannes head Thierry Fremaux.
“This year’s Lumière Award goes to Catherine Deneuve for what she is, has done, says, acts, sings and delights from time immemorial and forever,” the Institut Lumière said Monday in a press statement.
“The face of French cinema,” according to Scorsese, Deneuve’s career is remarkable for its longevity, great films, the directors she has worked with, and the contrasting facets of a figure which confounds easy categorisation.
Deneuve began making films before France’s Nouvelle Vague, her debut, Les Collégiennes,” bowing in 1957, though she broke through with 1964’s “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.” Getting on for sixty years later, she starred in “Standing Tall,” which opened the Cannes Festival last year.
Blessed – and sometimes eclipsed – by her extraordinary beauty, she has worked with some of the world’s greatest directors – Roman Polanski, Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut, Jacques Demy.
Yet it took decades for her merits as an actress to be fully recognised. Her major prizes – an Oscar nomination (“Indochine), a Berlin Silver Bear for outstanding artistic achievement (“8 Women”) an honorary Cannes Palme d’Or – have come late in her career.
The face of French glamour – Yves St. Laurent dressed her in films for years – she was the face of the Marianne, symbol of the French Republic. Yet, no conservative, she signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1972, admitting to have practised an illegal abortion, and was one of France;s first celebrities to have children out of wedlock.
“A demanding actress and a popular star,” and “the muse of grandmasters and lasting supporter of young directors,” Deneuve has acted in “more than numerous films” yet “only shoots films she really wants to make,” the Institut Lumière noted in a press statement Monday. She is “strong and fragile,” “enigmatic and down-to-earth,” it added, capturing her contradictions.
Deneuve will accept the 2016 Lumière Award on Oct.14 at Lyon’s Congress Centre in the presence of numerous international guests which include, among early confirmations, American director (“Warriors”) and screenwriter (“Aliens”) Walter Hill, actress Gong Li (“Farewell My Concubine,” “Memoirs of a Geisha”) and Jean-Loup Dabadie, co-writer of Claude Sautet’s 1971 classic, “Max and the Junkmen.”
Running Oct. 8-16, two days more than in its first seven editions, this year’s 8th Lumière Gran Lyon Festival will dedicate retrospectives to Buster Keaton, Hollywood Actresses between 1930 and 1950, Universal Monsters and Marcel Carne, director of “Les Enfants du Paradise” (Children of Paradise) whose Jacques Prevert screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award.
Festival’s ongoing profiles of women filmmakers showcases American director Dorothy Arzner, (“Wild Party,” Dance, Girl, Dance,” “Christopher Strong”), one of the only women to carve out a career for herself, though truncated, in 1930s’ Hollywood.
American author Jim Harrison, co-writer of “Legends of the Fall,” which adapts his own novel, will receive a tribute. Tavernier will once more make a selection of little-known gems of French cinema. The Festival will also host its 4th Classic Film Market, the world’s first heritage film business forum.
In 2015, the Lumière Festival registered 152,000 admissions off 157 screenings, an extraordinary number for an event dedicated to movie re-issues, re-runs and restorations.