• Germany's news in English
 

Older women make a mark on Berlinale

Published: 16 Feb 2013 11:59 GMT+01:00

Deneuve plays Bettie, the owner of an ailing family restaurant in a small town in Brittany who, freshly dumped by her lover for a younger rival and driven to distraction by her elderly mother, pops out to buy cigarettes one day and just keeps driving.

"It's an impromptu journey and along the way all sorts of things happen. Bettie started asking new questions and getting new answers," Deneuve, 69, told reporters after a warmly received world premiere.

"Some people always attract trouble, there are people who kind of draw mischief. She's got her feet on the ground, she got a fairly healthy, pragmatic approach to life and she doesn't generally get it wrong when she trusts people."

The film is by Emmanuelle Bercot, one of three women directors in competition at the 63rd Berlinale, which will be awarding its Golden Bear top prize at a gala ceremony Saturday night.

The picture sees Bettie end up first at the French equivalent of a honky-tonk bar, where a goofy but sweet younger man plies her with caipirinhas and beds her, telling her the next morning, "I bet you were a knock-out when you were young."

Bettie climbs back behind the wheel when her estranged adult daughter calls and asks her to pick up her son and take him to his grandfather's house because she has a job interview.

They hit the road together, and the boy warms to Bettie's down-to-earth sassiness. When she runs out of cash, she realizes her only option is to take the boy to a seaside hotel which has invited the 1969 beauty queens of France's various regions to a reunion photo shoot -- an offer she had initially turned down.

In a performance with little vanity and long on humour about middle age, Deneuve looks at the pictures of herself in her prime with a wry smile. And when the boy's attractive grandfather finally arrives to pick him up, the fact that the final plot twists are predictable did not dampen the fun for the Berlinale audience.

"It's not easy for a woman to get older, and it's not easy if that woman is an actor," Deneuve said. "That doesn't mean you need to get obsessed about it. If there's nothing you can do about it, you might as well learn to live with it." She said she was drawn to the chance to work with Bercot, herself an actress by training, as well as the "optimistic" story.

"There are retirement homes where people fall madly in love and get married aged 70, 75 or older, it happens all the time," she said, adding that her character was "definitely not a diva."

Bercot, 45, said she wrote the film's screenplay with Deneuve in mind. "She is just herself in the film, someone who is very easy-going," she said, noting that that simplicity may be far from the image most cinema-goers have of the cinema legend.

"I like her enormously as an actress and a woman. She is very inspiring." Films featuring seasoned actresses in starring roles have made a big splash at this year's Berlin festival and are widely expected to take home prizes.

Audiences swooned over Chile's "Gloria" starring Paulina Garcia, until now known mainly for television roles, as a divorcee pushing 60 who is determined to seek happiness despite the knocks life has to offer. Another fierce performance, this time with a darker tinge, came in the Romanian drama "Child's Pose" by Calin Peter Netzer, about a wealthy and controlling mother who fights to get her son acquitted after he kills a poor teenager with his car.

AFP/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,160
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd