Catherine Deneuve receives lifetime achievement award in Venice

Catherine Deneuve poses for photographers at the photo call for the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival.
Catherine Deneuve poses for photographers at the photo call for the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival. Copyright Vianney Le Caer/Invision
Copyright Vianney Le Caer/Invision
By Charlotte LamClemence Waller with AP
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The French actress was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the opening of the Venice Film Festival.


She’s an icon of French cinema (even if she rejects the term). The public knows her from “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”, “The young ladies of Rochefort” or even “The Last Metro”.

She is Catherine Deneuve. Born in Paris on the 22nd of October 1943, the star has been gracing the big screen since the 1960’s and making audiences and film director’s fawn over her talent.

This year, “La Mostra,” as the Venice film festival is known, is honouring Catherine Deneuve with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition for her work.

At age 78, the legendary French actress shows no sign (or desire) of slowing down. She just finished wrapping up one film in Paris and is starting another in Belgium.

Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
Catherine Deneuve posing at the 79th Venice International Film FestivalVianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Just moments before receiving the Golden Lion, she told reporters she was not fond of reminiscing, preferring to look to the future, though she treasures her films made with Jacques Demy and Francois Truffaut who made her their muse.

“We don’t have time to look backwards,” she said. “This is our present and we have to continue to go forward.”

Deneuve is no stranger to Venice’s glamourous red carpet. In 1967 she won the Golden Lion for her portrayal of Séverine Serizy, a young, beautiful housewife unable to share physical intimacy with her husband, who starts working in a brothel, in Luis Buñuel’s classic “Belle de Jour.”

In 1981, she won France's Cesar award for Best actress for the movie “ The Last Metro” by François Truffaut and saw the film receive a nomination as Best Foreign film at the Oscars.

Her earlier works with Jacques Demy earned her accolades from the critics and the press and propelled her in 1964 to the rank of star.

Despite the Covid pandemic putting the world on hold or in the virtual realm, Catherine Deneuve says she wants to see movies in a crowd at a theatre, rather than streaming at home.

“I love the cinema. I love going to the cinema. I want to be in a cinema with people I don’t know. It is not just the sound. It is the atmosphere. At home it is very different. You don’t feel the same things at all,” she says.

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