The Left Bank’s legendary department store Le Bon Marché will celebrate its 160th birthday in style with iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve, illustrator and director Marjane Satrapi and fashionable filmmaker Loic Prigent.
From Sept. 8th to Oct. 6th, the store’s windows on the rue de Sevres in Paris’ seventh arrondissementt will be decorated with a series of illustrations from Persepolis and Chicken With Plums director and illustrator Satrapi depicting Deneuve at her favorite Left Bank haunts. The 10 whimsical vignettes, in 3D for a pop-up book feel, will pay tribute to both the actress’ career and the Rive Gauche itself. Le Bon Marche will sell 160 limited edition collector’s boxes with all ten of Satrapi’s drawings for 900 euros. A percentage of the sales will benefit children’s hospital Necker-Enfants Malades.
The collaboration isn’t the first one for Satrapi and Deneuve. Deneuve lent her voice to Satrapi’s Oscar-nominated animated feature Persepolis in 2007.
Deneuve cited the “originality” of the exhibition and Satrapi’s “talent and her poetic sense of humor” for agreeing to participate in the birthday celebration. Deneuve said that, to her, Paris’ Left Bank symbolizes “relaxation, freedom, fantasy … being able to go from the Cafe de Flore to the Pantheon cinema and buy a book on the way.”
Starting on Sept. 15, filmmaker and artist Prigent, the prolific director behind documentary Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton and other behind-the-scenes fashion profiles, will screen his offbeat film Catherine Deneuve Rive Gauche at a temporary movie theater on the store’s ground floor.
The film, that follows Deneuve on the Left Bank, was produced in partnership with French cable network Paris Premiere who will air a special “Catherine Deneuve Week” for the occasion complete with Prigent’s film and classic Deneuve titles like Le Bon Plaisir and Francois Truffaut’s La Sirene de Mississippi plus Anne Andreu’s documentary Catherine Deneuve, belle et bien là.
Catherine Deneuve Rive Gauche combines Prigent’s signature designer documentary prowess with Deneuve’s self-effacing humor as the actress journeys from more well-known Left Bank spots like the Saint Sulpice church or les Invalides to off-the-beaten-track local haunts like Café Fleurus, Le Rhinocerous or the Jardin des Plantes.
The behind-the-scenes portrait of the actress may change the way viewers – and Bon Marché shoppers – see the famous French beauty.
“If the image people have of her is very cold, it’s untrue. She is very cultured, but very simple. She’s very funny. We laughed a lot with her,” Prigent told The Hollywood Reporter of the iconic actress, adding that Deneuve is “very spirited and curious about everything.”
“She’s very, very relaxed,” Prigent said of Deneuve, adding: “I filmed her in a car in Paris in bad traffic and we really see how she reacts. And when we shot at the Paris mosque, she played with the birds inside the restaurant.”
While she’s shot more than 100 films throughout her long career, the experience was a new one even for Deneuve.
“It was the first time she had ever filmed at the Saint Sulpice square,” Prigent told The Hollywood Reporter, adding; “She said ‘it’s the first time and the last time.’”
The film also catches Deneuve with another legendary French star of her generation, Gerard Depardieu, whom she meets at a fish restaurant close to le Bon Marche, the Moby Dick.
The actress, known for iconic roles in Belle de Jour and Indochine, hasn’t simply been promenading around Paris. Though she may be over France’s retirement age, Deneuve has been hard at work with roles in current US release, Christophe Honore’s musical The Beloved and the latest installment in the big screen Asterix and Obelix series starring Depardieu and other A-list Gallic talent.
“She is so vivacious. When we went to les Invalides, she just took off her shoes and walked barefoot,” Prigent said.
Deneuve may not be afraid to get her feet dirty, but she’s still Deneuve. “Every time we shot I thought: ‘Wow, it’s Catherine Deneuve,’ Prigent confessed, adding: “She’s a real star.”
Le Bon March’s 160th birthday fete à la Catherine Deneuve will run through Oct. 27.