Catherine Deneuve: Cinema legend unafraid of controversy

This file photo taken on Feb. 14, 2017 shows French actress Catherine Deneuve posing for photographers during a photocall for the film "Sage Femme" (The Midwife) in competition at the 67th Berlinale film festival in Berlin. (AFP)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Catherine Deneuve: Cinema legend unafraid of controversy

LONDON: Catherine Deneuve is an undisputed legend of French cinema, having starred in a string of successful and critically acclaimed films, winning 14 of her own country’s Cesar awards and receiving best actress nominations in the Oscars and and Britain’s Baftas.
She is also a woman unafraid of controversy, as demonstrated by her willing endorsement of the open letter calling sharply into question the #MeToo campaign that aims to expose historic sexual abuse by powerful men in entertainment, politics and other walks of life.
The Parisian-born, Catholic-educated daughter of actors, Deneuve, now 74, sprang to the defens of the French-Polish film director Roman Polanksi last March in a television discussion that drew a rebuke from a regulatory body.
Polanski fled US justice in 1977, fearing a judge was about to go back on a plea bargaining agreement, under which he had already served time in jail for statutory rape (sexual intercourse with a minor aged 13), and impose a 50-year sentence.
Deneuve, who has worked with Polanski, suggested during the contentious chat show that the girl may have seemed older and said she had always considered rape an “excessive” description of what happened. France audio-visual regulator, the Conseil Superieure de l‘Audiovisuel, said her comments were inappropriate and “conveyed retrograde prejudices concerning the perpetrators of rape and their victims".
What is clear from this and other episodes of her life is that when Deneuve speaks out, she is heard.
Often, her public declarations and commitments raise few disapproving eyebrows. She served for nine years as a Unesco goodwill ambassador for the protection of film heritage, diverted royalties from her appearance as the official face of France’s national symbol, Marianne, to Amnesty International and has supported projects to help deprived children in Africa and Romania and victims of landmines.
But she has also involved herself in pro-abortion activities, once signing a manifesto in which women openly declared they had practiced unlawful pregnancy terminations. She has campaigned against the death penalty and against the “misogynous” treatment of the socialist contender Segolene Royal during the 2007 French presidential elections won by Nicolas Sarkozy.
From a lengthy discography, Deneuve’s highlights include the 1965 film Repulsion, a psychological horror thriller shot by Polanski in Britain; Belle de Jour (1967) about a high-class prostitute; Francois Truffaut’s Le Dernier Metro (1980); Indochine, depicting French colonial rule in Vietnam (1992) and, in 2017, Standing Tall, in which she plays a judge dealing with a troubled young delinquent.
Actress has backed controversial director Roman Polanski and campaigned for various charities.


From Havana to the UAE: Camila Cabello’s visit gives her a ‘special feeling’

Updated 17 February 2019
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From Havana to the UAE: Camila Cabello’s visit gives her a ‘special feeling’

  • Cuban-American singing sensation Camila Cabello's visit to the UAE left her leaving humbled
  • The singer's performance in Dubai was well received and led to social media postings about how loved she felt

DUBAI: Cuban-American singing sensation Camila Cabello, who performed at the RedFest DXB 2019 music festival in Dubai over the weekend, took time out before the show to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. 

The singer of the hit song “Havana,” which she performed at the Grammys last week, posted a photo on Instagram of herself at the mosque wearing a hijab, which is provided for all female visitors. 

“I wore a hijab to be respectful when visiting this mosque, and at the store this really sweet girl helped me put it on,” Cabello wrote on her Instagram. 

“We didn’t speak the same language, but she was smiling as she helped me, and it felt like she was a close friend.” 

Her Instagram caption began: “One of my favorite people, Anthony Bourdain, once said, ‘It seems that the more places I experience, the bigger I realize the world to be’ — it’s so true, I love the feeling of being humbled by traveling to another place and experiencing a completely different culture. It makes you realize how small your world is in comparison to how big the world actually is; how you’re only living one version in a million of the human experience. But at the same time travel makes you realize we’re not really all that different.”

Cabello, previously a member of pop group Fifth Harmony, added: “I can’t really describe it, but experiences like this give me such a special feeling of being really close to and really loving people.”

She continued her ode to the UAE on Sunday, posting a photo of herself in a long, flowing dress in the desert and urging people to travel “to a place that couldn’t be more different than what you know.” 

She wrote: “Never in my life did I think I would see a place like this. Getting to see places like this just makes me more desperate to see more.”

The 21-year-old singer performed at the Dubai Media City Amphitheater on Friday, along with rapper Macklemore. 

Her one-hour set opened with the 1980s-inspired ballad “Never Be the Same,” and included other hit numbers such as “Lost Control” and “Inside Out.” She closed the set with the chart-topping track “Havana.” 

Post-concert, Cabello tweeted: “I’ve got so much love to my fans from the Middle East. I didn’t realize there were so many of you out there.”