During a short visit to Jakarta to attend the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner hosted by the French Embassy and Institut Français d’Indonésie (IFI) at Raffles Hotel on March 26, Indonesia Tatler had the chance to have a quick conversation with the legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve. How could we resist?
Regarding your choice of movie roles, what are the differences between now and when you were younger?
I think my choices have always been based on my interest of the part in the film, as well as my curiosity for new experiences, and also based on the character of the script or the story.
What is the most powerful character you’ve played so far?
I don’t know [laughs]. There are so many films, I cannot just choose one. However, I have to say that working with director André Téchiné has been such an important experience for me—we have done around six or seven films together, and I am actually going to do a film with him next year.
You’ve received several lifetime achievement awards, so what is your greatest achievement so far?
Yes, it is very beautiful and very special, but I do not have a word for “achievement” because it is generally said by other people. Either that, or after a certain time in the industry, you start receiving awards—so you speak the word “achievement”.
Still, for me achievement is not really a part of my life because it means “finished” and I do not feel that way.
You are an icon of arthouse films—you’ve worked with François Truffaut and Roman Polanski. Should an opportunity present itself to work with Indonesian directors, would you prefer arthouse or commercial films?
I would prefer arthouse films and work in Indonesia, because this is the best way to understand the people. I remembered when I was in Vietnam for two months to shoot Indochine, meeting with people and living with them—it was quite an incredible experience, more than when you are just visiting and feeling like a tourist.
It is very different when you work in another country.
Do you have any interest in working with American directors?
Honestly, I don’t see an American director casting a French actress to work on an American film; it would probably be a European director. I don’t think an American director would, unless he or she writes a story in a place or a situation in which you need a French-speaking actress. Otherwise there is no reason to do so.
What is your message for young people aspiring to have a career in the film industry?
Follow your instincts.