France 3 broadcasts this Thursday, April 14 at 9:10 p.m. the unpublished documentary Deneuve, Queen Catherine. An intimate portrait of the actress, looking back on her brilliant career and the great trials of her life, including the death of her big sister Françoise Dorléac. Take a look back at their unique relationship.
In The Demoiselles de Rochefort, Francoise Dorleac and Catherine Deneuve interpret, Solange and Delphine, two inseparable twin sisters. In real life, actresses also share this unbreakable bond. Born in 1942 and 1943, they both share a passion for cinema. But it is indeed Françoise Dorléac who shows the way to the seventh art to her youngest. “My sister was 18 months older than me but she was much more determined and knew much more about what she wanted to do.”says Catherine Deneuve in an interview dated 1978, where she admits that if his sister had not done the Conservatoire, she would never have started in the cinema. “She first wanted to be a nun and then an actress. She went with the same ardor and the same vehemence from this sacred fire to that of the boards.“
The two sisters share the screen several times and shoot with the same directors : Jacques Demy, Roman Polanski, François Truffaut. Their complicity bursts the screen and is felt even in the interviews they give together on the set Demoiselles de Rochefort. “In The doors slam, I needed a sister and the producer asked me if I knew someone who looked like me. I said ‘Yes, I have a sister who looks a lot like me’ and that’s how Catherine started making movies’“happily recalls Françoise Dorléac in an interview shared by INA in 2019.
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The disappearance of Françoise Dorléac, “great drama” in the life of Catherine Deneuve
Protective and benevolent, Françoise Dorléac takes care of her little sister’s back. When 17-year-old Catherine Deneuve meets filmmaker Roger Vadim, 15 years her senior and already divorced from two women, including Brigitte Bardot, Françoise Dorléac does not see a good eye then the relationship that the director of And God created the woman could tie up with his youngest. This did not prevent them from having a son, Christian Vadim, in 1963.
The two women remain close and their reunion in The Demoiselles de Rochefort, in 1967, marks the apotheosis of their complicity. The film met with immense success in France and abroad and became cult. But on June 26, 1967, when Françoise Dorléac was heading to Nice airport from Saint-Tropez, she veered off the road violently and her car caught fire. The 25-year-old actress, to whom the future promised a sparkling career, dies. In London, the musical comedy team and Catherine Deneuve are waiting for him for the screening of the film. But the two sisters will never be reunited again. Even today, this accident is most “great drama” from the life of Catherine Deneuve.
Long taboo in the family, this disappearance has undoubtedly blackened the idyllic destiny of Catherine Deneuve. For many years, the star of Last Metro remains silent about his sister. It was not 29 years later, in 1996, that the actress took up the pen to pay tribute to her eldest in Her name was Francoise. In this biography, Catherine Deneuve confides in and transcribes the unique bond that united them.
Catherine Deneuve : “Our relationship was extremely violent and passionate”
“When we were children, we were almost too close so we argued a lot. We argued, we even fought a lot I would say that we were almost like very complementary and very different false twins at the same time”, she wrote then. Chiara Mastroianni’s mother looks back in detail at their childhood together and the relationship she and Françoise Dorléac had developed as adults: “Our relationships were extremely violent and passionate. But they were sister relationships. Never actress relationships. […] We had a vital need to talk together“reveals Catherine Deneuve. “It was often chatting to say nothing, exchanging unimportant things. Sometimes it was more serious, you had to cheer yourself up, find words of comfort if one or the other was in trouble. Francoise and I we called each other as you can call your best friendlate at night to confide.”
Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac were also very different. The now 78-year-old actress even insists, writing that they were “the day and the night”. “We had a very great intimacy but at the same time, we didn’t like the same people at all. We didn’t have the same friends at all, we didn’t like the same kind of men at all. It allowed us to avoid love rivalry that could have existed between us, who were so close in age”has fun the heroine of Donkey Skin.
It took many years for Catherine Deneuve to speak serenely of the one who was like his other half. In 2019, at the microphone of Augustin Trapenard, on France Inter, the actress indulges in a few secrets about the role she played in her family after the death of Françoise Dorléac: “I have the feeling that I had to take over when I lost my sister, vis-à-vis my parents and my other sisters. I was there to hold on and above all to [les] to accompany. I was a little pillar“she said on the show.
This Thursday April 14lovers of Catherine Deneuve and the cinema will learn even more anecdotes about the long career of the actress, at the heart of the documentary Deneuve, Queen Catherinebroadcast at 9:10 p.m. on France 3.
Photo credits: AGENCY / BESTIMAGE