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

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.

Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

Nicki Minaj recently released a new album. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018

Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

  • Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi
  • She was just in Milan attending Fashion Week

DUBAI: Pop superstar Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi and posted a string of photos on Instagram to show off her skills.

“Ride wit Minaj (sic),” the rapper-singer captioned a snap on the social media site, showing her astride a dune buggy in the desert.

She also posted a video in which she can be seen speeding through the desert with her loose hair streaming in the wind. Earlier in the evening, she posted a video in which she runs along a beach in the UAE at night and talks in a British accent, saying she wants her fans to “see the water.”

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Before her trip to the Gulf country, Minaj sat front row at the Versace show at Milan Fashion Week.

She sat alongside Leona Lewis, Rita Ora, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, actor Luke Evans and Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni in an enormous industrial space in the modern CityLife neighborhood where the runway show was held, according to Reuters.

“I’m so proud of you @donatella_versace You’ve never missed a beat. So tiny, but so powerful,” Minaj posted after the runway show.

“Loved the show tonight. Thank you for my gorgeous flowers & for playing like 75 percent of the Queen album at the show,” she added, referencing fourth studio album, which was released in August to mixed reviews.

Minaj also took a front row seat at the Fendi show in Milan, taking a turn for fans on her way in decked out in a Fendi puffer jacket and matching leggings and cropped top.

Other front-row celebs included Ferragni with her rapper husband Fedez, leaving home their much-Instagrammed infant, Leone, but trailing television cameras as they toured backstage.

While the front-row celebrity attire was highly branded Fendi streetwear, the runway collection by Karl Lagerfeld was more elegant and subtle, the Associated Press noted.

The artist is fresh off a bout of controversy involving US rapper Cardi B, who infamously tried to attack Minaj during a scuffle at a party held on the sidelines of New York Fashion Week earlier in September.

Minaj and Cardi B were the center of attention as A-list guests reportedly huddled around their phones to watch footage of the fracas.
A person who witnessed the incident, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said Minaj was finishing up a conversation with someone when Cardi B tried to attack her, but Minaj’s security guards intervened, the Associated Press reported.
Video footage that circulated on social media at the time showed Cardi B lunging toward someone and being held back. Cardi B reportedly threw one of her shoes at Minaj.

Here’s to hoping Minaj has a more enjoyable time in the UAE.