• Germany edition
 
Berlinale 2013
Older women make a mark on Berlinale
Photo: DPA

Older women make a mark on Berlinale

Published: 16 Feb 2013 11:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Update: Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,527
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd