Back in 1998, French icon Catherine Deneuve received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her role in the crime drama Place Vendôme. The coveted award is named in honour of Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the founder of the festival, and has been only bestowed on 67 actresses so far, for having delivered an outstanding performance from the films in competition in Venice.
This year, La Deneuve will return to receive an award tailor made for the grand dame of French cinema -- the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 79th Venice International Film Festival which will be held from August 31 to September 10, 2022.
The festival announced it and disclosed that the decision was made by the board of La Biennale di Venezia, which embraced the proposal of the Festival's Director, Alberto Barbera.
Deneuve, in accepting, wrote: “It is a joy to receive this prestigious award at the Venice Festival, which I love and have known for a long time, since Belle de jour by Luis Buñuel received the Golden Lion in its day. It is also an honor to be chosen for this tribute at the Film Festival that has accompanied me so often for so many movies. Thank you, best regards”.
Venice International Film Festival Director Alberto Barbera shared the decision on social media and said: “An impressive number of movies, most of which are major international successes. An equally remarkable number of awards she has received at the world's most important festivals, plus an Oscar nomination for best actress in a leading role, a rare privilege for an artist who is not American. A succession of artistic partnerships with some of Europe's top directors and actors: Roger Vadim, Jacques Demy, Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut, Roman Polanski, Marco Ferreri, Marcello Mastroianni, and Gérard Depardieu. An indisputable talent at the service of a gift for acting, plus a sophisticated and rare beauty, attributes which have helped make her the very symbol of French cinema, a timeless diva and a true icon of the silver screen. From one of the key figures of the Nouvelle Vague and a privileged example of a concept of style that is associated with French fashion, Catherine Deneuve has come to embody the essence of the universally recognized diva, taking her place as one of the greatest actresses in film history. For these reasons, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award that the Venice International Film Festival will present her on the occasion of the 9anniversary of the first edition of the Venetian festival assumes particular importance, after the Golden Lion she won for Belle de jour by Luis Buñuel in 1967 and the Volpi Cup for best actress she received for her performance in Place Vendôme by Nicole Garcia in 1998.”
While this will be the festival's 79th edition, the first Venice Film Festival was held in 1932, when the festival kicked off with a screening of the American film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, starring Fredric March, on the terrace of the Excelsior Palace Hotel. but was suspended a couple of times due to budget and the events of WWII.
For more information on La Biennale del cinema, check out their website.