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Catherine Deneuve Screen Icons Collection in March

Optimum Home Entertainment have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of Screen Icons: Catherine Deneuve for 5th March 2007 priced at £34.99. The icily beautiful French goddess Catherine Denueve is celebrated here in Optimum’s Screen Icons series with a box-set of films that span the full range of her illustrious 45-year career so far.

This five-disc set collects together the following titles: Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Belle de Jour, Donkey Skin, Manon 70 and Ma Saison Préférée.

From the Press Release:

The Optimum SCREEN ICONS series is a new and on-going series of DVD collections, each centering on the work of a star that has transformed the cinematic landscape. Beginning with boxsets for the era-defining Julie Christie and legendary screen siren Catherine Deneuve, future titles will focus on Alain Delon, Jean Paul Belmondo and James Mason amongst others.

Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (1964)

Described by director Jacques Demy as ‘a film in song’, the visually intoxicating The Umbrellas of Cherbourg pays homage to the Hollywood musical whilst imbuing it with a resolutely Gallic and decidedly bittersweet tone that explores how youthful fantasy soon give way to thwarted dreams.

Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (a luminous Catherine Deneuve), an employee in her widowed mother's chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, the pair make love. Geneviève becomes pregnant and then must choose between waiting for Guy's return or accepting an attractive offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant (Marc Michel, reprising his role from Demy's masterful Lola).

Featuring a cavalcade of colour, sumptuous cinematography and an ingenuous score by Michel Legrand that was modelled around the patters of everyday conversation, the profoundly romantic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is undoubtedly director Demy’s masterpiece. Nominated for four Academy Awards – including Best Original Score – the film also won the Palme d'Or at 1964’s Cannes Film Festival.

Cert: U
Running time: 86 mins approx
Aspect ratio:
Colour PAL
Audio: Mono
French with English Subtitles

Belle de Jour (1967)

Undoubtedly Luis Buñuel’s most accessible film, Belle de Jour is an elegant and erotic masterpiece that maintains as hypnotic a grip on modern audiences as it did on its debut 30 years ago.

Catherine Deneuve plays Severine, the glacially beautiful, sexually unfulfilled wife of a surgeon, whose blood runs icy with ennui until she takes a day-job in a brothel. There she meets a charismatic but sinister young gangster (Pierre Clémenti), and ignites an obsession that will court peril. Long unavailable, the film won the Golden Lion at the 1967 Venice Film Festival.

Cert: 18
Running time: 96 mins approx
Feature Aspect ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Colour / PAL
French language with English subtitles

Donkey Skin (1970)

Based on a fairytale by Charles Perrault (of Cinderella fame), Jacques Demy’s Donkey Skin – originally titled Peau D'Ane – is a unique synthesis of Jean Cocteau and Walt Disney.

The wonderfully bizarre story concerns the king (Jean Marais, Orphée) of a strange and enchanted land. Catherine Deneuve plays the dual role of the king's wife and daughter. When the wife dies, she makes the king promise that he'll never marry anyone less beautiful than she; thus, he is compelled to wed his own daughter. A fairy godmother (Delphine Seyrig, Last Year at Marienbad) tries to save the girl from this incestuous fate by advising that she make impossible demands for her wedding gifts. One such demand is for the skin of a magic donkey.

Featuring classic songs by Michel Legrand, Donkey Skin is the Demy film perhaps most ready for re-discovery. Ahead of its time and strikingly modern in its production design, it’s also a warts and all fairytale, ripe with incorrect royalism and medieval misogyny.

Running time: mins approx
Aspect ratio: 1:85:1
Colour PAL
Audio: 2.0 Stereo
French with English subtitles

Manon 70 (1968)

A 1960’s version of an 18th century French novel and a 19th century Italian opera, Denueve plays the confused Manon, torn between a young but penniless lover and an older, richer suitor whose generosity she finds very tempting...

Running time: mins approx
Aspect ratio:
Colour PAL
French with English subtitles

Ma Saison Préférée

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