Ciné Lumière reopens with a Catherine Deneuve retrospective
David Jenkins welcomes the return of South Kensington’s Ciné Lumière, which reopens this weekend with a Catherine Deneuve retrospective
Looking back, Deneuve’s catalogue of roles reads like a wish list of modern French classics. Her films reflect not only an ability to ally herself with directors attuned to her enviable panoply of talents (among them Ruiz, Von Trier, Demy, Vadim and de Oliveira), but they also track her 50-year journey from ice-blonde 1960s glamourpuss to a confident, classic beauty whose mere presence in a movie demands attention. Her stature, too, has surged and she manages still to surprise, provoke and enthrall with each new performance.
It’s no coincidence, then, that the first film to screen in the Lumière’s revamped cinema is Arnaud Desplechin’s witty ensemble drama and Cannes hit, ‘A Christmas Tale’, in which Deneuve excels as the officious and predictably elegant matriarch of a dysfunctional family which includes Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Paul Roussillon and Anne Consigny among its ranks. This will be swiftly trailed by a four-day mini retrospective of Deneuve’s screen career, opening on a playfully erotic note with a brilliant late Buñuel double of ‘Belle de Jour’ (1967) and ‘Tristana’ (1970). Following that, old Hollywood sentimentalism and star-power combine in François Truffaut’s much-loved glance at the ethical dilemmas of creating art in wartime, ‘The Last Metro’ (1980), with Deneuve offering a multi-textured, award-winning turn as a theatre actress harbouring her Jewish playwright husband from the Nazis.
Despite her standing as a world-class actor and celebrity, details of Deneuve’s personal life remain scarce, with the recent release of her ‘private diaries’ doing little to sate the appetite of her fanbase. Yet there’s a soul-baring, deeply personal edge to her performance in André Téchiné’s superb ‘Ma Saison Préférée’ (1993), in which she plays a bemused wife, mother, daughter and sister, who’s unsure of how to cohabit with the various members of her distracted and depressed family. There’s also something pleasingly delicate and emotionally ambiguous about her role in the director’s later ‘Les Voleurs’ (1996) in which she plays a philosophy professor drawn into a murderous plot.
Though this retrospective claims to represent a selection of Deneuve’s ‘greatest roles’, it’s worth noting the strange omission of films such as Jacques Demy’s adorable 1964 soap operetta, ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ – the film which allows you in on the joke of François Ozon’s ironic musical ‘8 Women’ (which rounds off the season) – or Roman Polanski’s 1965 London-set horror-thriller, ‘Repulsion’, which offers some neat career context into how she was later to become the YSL-clad object of Buñuel’s cine-fantasies. Still, there’s a chance to catch the British premiere of Gaël Morel’s ‘Après Lui’ (2007) in which she stars as a chic divorcée who runs a bookshop in Lyon and develops a crush on one of her dead son’s friends.
With all manner of Francophone treats in the pipeline over the coming months, it’s great to have the Ciné Lumière open for business again, and it’s great to have a proper movie star in town propping open the doors.
Read Time Out's interview with 'A Christmas Tale' director, Arnaud Desplechin.
The Catherine Deneuve retrospective runs at the Ciné Lumière Jan 11-14; ‘A Christmas Tale’ opens on Jan 16.
Author: David Jenkins
Director Tom Hooper and his cast tell us how they turned the super-musical into movie blockbuster.
The Time Out film team weighs in on the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards
Get ready for the big guns… Spielberg, Tarantino and Bigelow
Daniel Craig’s 007 comeback, a genius indie romcom and all the mysteries behind ‘The Shining’ unravelled.
The results of our study on the state of films and filmgoing in 2012.
Read 'Time Out film debate 2012 highlights'
'The Hobbit' actor tells us why he wouldn't have a pint with Bilbo Baggins.
Dave Calhoun speaks to the director of 'Skyfall' about the latest film in the Bond franchise.
The genre-hopping director tells us how he invented a new genre with 'Life of Pi'
The twice Palme d'Or-winning director discusses 'Amour'.
Read our interview with Michael Haneke
The Danish director talks about his powerful new drama 'The Hunt'.
Read our interview with Thomas Vinterberg'
Time Out looks back at the impact of the 'Twilight' saga.
Discover what 'Twilight' has done for us
Time Out heads to the Lake District to visit director Ben Wheatley on set.
Read about our visit to the 'Sightseers' set
The director talks about 'Frankenweenie', which he describes as 'the ultimate memory piece'.
Read our interview with Tim burton
Our pick of the best films showing over the festive period.
Read 'The top ten Christmas films of 2012'
Mean Girls? Dirty Dancing? Tell us your favourite film guilty pleasure.
Read 'Film guilty pleasures'
What will Disney do to 'Star Wars'?
Read about the new 'Star Wars' trilogy
Ten young actors come of age on the silver screen.
Read 'When teen stars turn serious'
From Connery to Craig, we revisit all 22 Bond films.
Read '50 years of James Bond'
The director talks Scientology and working with Joaquin Phoenix.
Read the interview
Ten funny horror movies which went spectacularly off the rails.
Read 'Hilarious horror films'
The director talks psychopaths and theatre – 'my least favourite artform'.
Read the interview
We round-up the five best horror movies of Autumn 2012.
Read about this Autumn's best horror movies
Time Out visits Istanbul to see the latest Bond movie being made.
Read 'On the set of Skyfall'
Does Skyfall refresh or rehash the James Bond franchise?
The British director explains why 'Ginger and Rosa' is her most mainstream film yet.
'I’m almost as in demand as Brad Pitt’