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Good films losing out to technology, says Deneuve

Venice, Aug. 31 (Reuters): French actress Catherine Deneuve, star of a new romantic comedy inspired by the 1957 classic An Affair to Remember, rallied today against Hollywood’s current love of technology over substance.

Deneuve, whose Au plus pres du paradis is one of 21 films vying for the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, said interesting characters and good acting were losing out in the effects-filled film world.

“Cinema is still a very young art form with extraordinary techniques and very impressive special effects but sometimes it seems the soul has been taken out of things,” Deneuve told reporters, smoking one long, thin cigarette after another.

“The love of technology is bigger than characterisation these days. I’m not sure that's what I like but the public certainly seems to,” added the 58-year-old, whose face used to feature on French coins and stamps as Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic.

Au plus pres du paradis, which translates as “Nearest to heaven”, uses special effects only to make a former lover appear and disappear like a ghost.

It was written specifically for her by French director Tonie Marshall, who was influenced by a declaration Deneuve made in the past that she was “an actress, yes, but at heart a lover”.

Deneuve’s character Fanette is inspired by, and partly lives out, the love story between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember in which Kerr misses a date to meet at the top of the Empire State Building after being hit by a car.

“There are still actors with the quality of a Cary Grant or a Katherine Hepburn but films today are different and the roles ask very different things of them,” said Deneuve, who made her breakthrough in the 1963 musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.

“Somehow it seems films always have to be bigger and better than the last,” added the actress, who is also French designer Yves Saint Laurent’s muse.

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