When Catherine Deneuve seems in “The Fact” she isn’t merely in character. She is available in accompanied by a multiplicity of different roles and former performances, by former administrators and co-stars, outdated loves and scandals and triumphs, all crowding round her like phantoms. That’s usually the case now with Deneuve, who, like every enduring star, has develop into a dwelling testomony to her personal glory. Even when she’s enjoying comparatively down-to-earth characters, she transcends their odd constraints.
In “The Fact,” the Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda wittily toys with Deneuve’s persona, its layers and meanings. (That is his first film exterior of Japan.) She performs Fabienne, a determine not in contrast to herself, or maybe extra like an admirer’s fantasy of an ideal French star. With a long time of fame behind her, Fabienne has reached a waning level. She’s nonetheless lively and has begun a brand new movie, however she doesn’t have the lead function and now principally performs the star at house, the place she lords over her doting husband and an assistant. When “The Fact” opens, she’s giving an interview, having not too long ago written a memoir (additionally titled “The Fact”), an imperfect testomony to herself.
Like all monuments, Fabienne relies on recognition for stature. The journalist interviewing her isn’t discussing solely her historical past, but in addition worshiping at an altar that she has lengthy helped preserve. The primary line within the film — “I already answered that query,” Fabienne says tartly — means that the interview isn’t going effectively. Right here and all through “The Fact,” the seemingly spontaneous second, an apart or look, carries as-yet-undisclosed depth. For whereas Fabienne is making her interlocutor squirm, her habits is of a chunk with the roles she performs with nice constancy: the imperious star, the oblivious narcissist and occasional, inadvertent comic.
You grasp simply how unintended when the journalist asks “To what actress have you ever imparted a few of your DNA?” Fabienne appears to be like at him, eyebrows arching in a second that artfully edges towards comedy. “In France, not likely anybody,” she says via a display of cigarette smoke. Kore-eda then cuts to a small group of individuals strolling via what appear like woods, their backs to the trailing digital camera. Once they clear the greenery, the picture brightens — an impact like theater curtains parting — and also you see a younger woman with a girl and a person. They’re on the edge of a big backyard that may quickly develop into a stage. Solely when the lady turns do you see that it’s Juliette Binoche.