Catherine Deneuve is the queen of glamour and elegance, and if you want to live like her, get thyself off Twitter, STAT. The 71-year-old stone-cold fox recently told The Guardian that there are no stars left in France. Following up on that today at a press conference for her new film, Standing Tall (La Tête Haute), which opened the Cannes Film Festival, she blamed social media. “I said there were no longer any stars left because I think there could be stars,” said Deneuve through a translator. “It’s just that it’s the system, it’s the media that we have, the social networks which don’t allow people to dream any more about these people, these stars.”
See, in Deneuve’s world, you can’t be a real star if you’re a Kardashian (“We see a huge amount about people who are very famous, who have millions of followers … and who have done absolutely nothing,” she told The Guardian), but you might be able to become one if you’re discreet. “The private lives of actors and actresses are displayed around the globe,” she told the press conference, horrified. “People even post up their own private photos on these social networks. And I find this a pity. One can do what one wants in life, but that isn’t conducive to dreams. Being a star, well, that entails glamour and secrecy. It’s not a question of creating secrecy, but you keep some things for yourself. You shouldn’t just make everything about your private life. But you see so many pictures, so many images, it’s hard to keep any degree of mystery.” Deneuve, for the record, always leaves her phone in her bag during dinner and never takes selfies.
She also considers the perpetual hyperbole perpetrated on social media “the big problem today.” She explained: “Things are not always kept in context, things are blown out of all importance and become quite negative.” Take, for example, some complaints she made in an interview about Dunkirk in the north of France, a port town that was the site of a famous World War II battle and where Standing Tall was shot. (Deneuve plays a juvenile court judge trying to straighten out a troubled young man with a drug-addict mom.) Deneuve had said she found Dunkirk to be kind of depressing and that the only business that seemed to do well there was “cigarettes and alcohol.” And here she was, on the opening day of Cannes, being asked to defend her comments.
Lessons No. 2 through 4 on how to be like Catherine Deneuve? Say what you want, don’t apologize for it, and come out swinging. “It’s a very striking example of what one can do with a word or a sentence and this is blown out of all proportion,” she told the press. “I am entitled to say what I want about Dunkirk. The weather was horrible at the end of the summer, things were very sad. It was dreadful weather and I’m entitled to my own thoughts about Dunkirk. Of course it has great melancholic charm. I don’t think it’s normal however for perhaps one negative sentence that I may have said about Dunkirk to be blown out of proportion. To have to even answer a question on that topic here at a press conference in Cannes is a typical example of what happens today in terms of the media and the social networks. I don’t think it’s normal to have to justify oneself in this manner. In the interview what I said was actually shortened and that’s normal, but then the social networks come into play and blow things out of proportion. I’ll be very cautious and careful in the future.”
For the press conference’s last question, another French journalist stood up to ask Deneuve if she’d seen the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo featuring a cartoon of her. Deneuve had not. Could he describe the cover? The journalist, who’d been so bold to ask that question, suddenly turned shy. The cover, it turns out, features a boat of a woman with double chins on her double chins walking the Cannes red carpet. “Colis suspect sur la Croisette!” (“Suspicious package on the Croisette!”) someone screams. “Fausse alerte! C’est Catherine Deneuve!” (“False alarm! It’s Catherine Deneuve!”) shouts someone else.
Denueve seemed nonplussed, whatever the cover would be. “I hope it’s funny at least, even if it’s a bit nasty,” she said, shrugging. Lesson No. 5 on how to be like Catherine Deneuve? Let them call you fat, as long as they’re funny.