Catherine Deneuve Timeless French actress says age no barrier to success

She even had a thought to spare about one woman shattering glass ceilings of her own across the pond: Hillary Clinton

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Catherine Deneuve has denounced Hollywood's sidelining of actresses over 40, saying Europe more readily accepts older women in leading roles play

Catherine Deneuve has denounced Hollywood's sidelining of actresses over 40, saying Europe more readily accepts older women in leading roles

(AFP)
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At 73, French film goddess Catherine Deneuve is plenty busy -- acting, scooping up awards, dipping a toe in social causes. But one thing she is not fussing over? Ageing.

Having worked for more than five decades, the screen siren said she was happy to still be active in Europe, where older actresses face less discrimination than their Hollywood counterparts.

"There's a very big challenge in the United States when it comes to ageing, especially for actors and actresses," Deneuve told AFP in Hanoi, ahead of the digital re-release of her 1992 film "Indochine" set in Vietnam, a former French colony.

"I'm not saying it's easy in Europe, but in Europe we accept more readily to make movies with women in leading roles who are 40, 45, 50 years old. That is still very rarely seen in the United States," added Deneuve, speaking Wednesday in the famed Metropole Hotel.

She has appeared in more than 100 films, including as a bisexual vampire opposite David Bowie and a high-end prostitute in "Belle de Jour", and continues to break gender boundaries in an industry notorious for sidelining female actresses beyond a certain age.

"You have to try to age as graciously as possible, to not be obsessed with your own image because there is a lot of pressure to do that and actors can easily fall into the trap of thinking just about this," she added.

Actress and producer Bebe Pham at the screening of the digital re-release of the 1992 film "Indochine" in Hanoi play

Actress and producer Bebe Pham at the screening of the digital re-release of the 1992 film "Indochine" in Hanoi

(AFP)

She even had a thought to spare about one woman shattering glass ceilings of her own across the pond: Hillary Clinton.

"I think it's great that there is already an American president that is black, and today there is a big chance -- I hope at least -- that it will be a woman who will be the leader of America."

Return to Hanoi

Deneuve is showing no signs of slowing down after half a century of work. She stars in an upcoming film "Bonne Pomme" with Gerard Depardieu, and was recently awarded the Lumiere Award in France, which she dedicated to French farmers.

The actress is in Hanoi to promote the newly remastered "Indochine" about a French plantation owner, played by her, and her adopted daughter in French-ruled Vietnam.

French actress Catherine Deneuve (2nd L) was in Hanoi, Vietnam attending the screening of the digital re-release of her 1992 film "Indochine" on November 2 play

French actress Catherine Deneuve (2nd L) was in Hanoi, Vietnam attending the screening of the digital re-release of her 1992 film "Indochine" on November 2

(AFP)

It premiered this week at the Hanoi International Film Festival, which is in its fourth edition and seeking to showcase Vietnam's little-known cinema industry at home and abroad.

Of all the films she has worked on Deneuve said "Indochine", the only movie to ever earn her an Oscar nod, maintained a special place in her storied career.

"It's a movie that's had a lot of success, the release of the film, taking the film all the way to the Oscars, plus the countries that I brought the film to overseas, this was something very special," she said, a few hours before hitting the red carpet in Hanoi for the debut.

Deneuve said she was happy to find Hanoi as charming as it was 25 years ago, admiring its tree-lined boulevards and decaying French villas.

"I hope it's changing for the better for Vietnamese people, but I hope it's not changing too much because it's a city with a lot of charm," she said.

As for what comes next, Deneuve said there was no particular actor or actress she was hungry to star alongside, and that she was mostly drawn to the work of directors and scriptwriters.

With a litany of awards and accolades under her belt, Deneuve said the lack of an Oscar on her mantelpiece did not keep her awake at night.

"It's not at all in my plans. These are things that happen sometimes, but frankly I don't think very much about this."

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