Thursday, March 3, 2011

Catherine Deneuve is just smoldering at BAM

By Ethan Alter

Gallic glamour comes to the Brooklyn Academy of Music this month.

A 25-film retrospective devoted to iconic French screen legend Catherine Deneuve showcases the star’s many incarnations, from the young ingénue who won moviegoers’ hearts in the 1964 musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” to the stately grande dame who proves more than a match for her overbearing husband in the new comedy, “Potiche.”

“After watching that movie at the Toronto Film Festival last year, I knew I wanted to do something around her,” said Florence Almozini, director of film programing at BAM, who kicks off the series on March 4 with a screening of “Potiche,” followed by a Q and A with the actress (pictured in the film "Heartbeats" here). “She always has this image of the beautiful, cold blonde, and yet she has played in comedies to perfection and still does.”

Indeed, Deneuve earned that image thanks to such films as Roman Polanksi’s chilling 1965 psychological horror movie “Repulsion,” François Truffaut’s 1969 film “Mississippi Mermaid,” and Luis Buñel’s 1967 art-house provocation “Belle de Jour.” Then again, she also did the over-the-top 2002 musical comedy “8 Women.”

The retrospective includes them all, though Almozini hopes the star’s earlier work shines through.

“I hope younger audiences will be able to experience her early films,” said Almozini. “Those movies are 40 years old and still feel fresh.”

“Deneuve” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [651 Fulton St. near between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], March 4-31. Tickets $12, $7 members. For info, visit


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