Actress Catherine Deneuve Slams Gerard Depardieu for Leaving France

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Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu

The French screen icon said her former co-star is "not a citizen" for moving to Russia to avoid France's high taxes on the rich and is "not an example to follow."

HONG KONG -- French screen icon Catherine Deneuve slammed her former co-star Gerard Depardieu for "not being a citizen" by moving away from France to avoid taxes, saying he's "not an example to follow."

Deneuve was in Hong Kong promoting her latest film, On My Way, an official selection of the 38th Hong Kong International Film Festival, which is currently underway. She appeared opposite Depardieu as recently as 2010 in French director Francois Ozon's Potiche.

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Depardieu has citizenship in Belgium and Russia, the latter granted to him by Vladimir Putin in January 2013. He emigrated from France shortly after a very public spat over the country's high taxes on the rich. 

"He doesn't want to live in France because he doesn't want to pay the taxes that we [have] now in France," Deneuve told The Hollywood Reporter. "I think Gerard is now more able to keep what he has, like some rich people who want to keep their money outside of France. I don't think it's an example to follow, but I don't think it'll last very long. I don't think you can be for very long a citizen of nowhere," she added.

On My Way, a light drama written and directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, revolves around a woman who left her restaurant business on a whim and went on a road trip in the French countryside for five days.

Deneuve said she has had similar thoughts of leaving everything behind but could never act on them. "The thought must have appeared once in a while, when you're fed up -- just want to go away for a few days and leave everything. But you cannot just disappear like that. It's impossible. Unless you live alone and you have no family, but otherwise it's very difficult to leave everything all of a sudden."

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The French actress is going to work with Bercot again later this summer, playing a judge in a movie about a young delinquent.

When reminded that she has been in 110 movies, the star of such classics as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Last Metro said she was surprised. What keeps her going? "I suppose it's my taste for film. Not only being in films, but also to be involved with the story, with a group of people, a team together for two months. It's still something exciting, and I like cinema very much. I think if I didn't like it that much, I would stop," she said.

She said she has no regrets about not appearing in more Hollywood films. "Frankly I wasn't offered such interesting parts," she said. "After I finished the film with Robert Aldrich (Hustle, 1975), I was not offered such interesting parts in American films."

As for maturing gracefully, the celebrated beauty said it comes down to being able to follow one's own desires.

"I think it has to do with the fact that you do what you want to do," she said. "It's to follow your desire of life and work, being involved with people you want to be involved with, staying interesting in doing what you're doing, to decide who you want to work with or live with or countries where you want to go, knowing that you only have one life."

"I feel quite free," she added.