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Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve reopens a revamped Ciné Lumière

By Patricia Connell

Catherine Deneuve at Cine lumiere

After 6 months of building work, Ciné Lumière finally re-opens its doors. Catherine Deneuve who had inaugurated the New French Institute a few years ago, and who is viewed by many as its `Marraine' was there once again. She was accompanied by Arnaud Desplechin the director of her latest film, a Christmas tale (which has nothing to do with Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol).
 Catherine Deneuve cut the ribbon and for the first time, the new revamped theatre was seen by the public. In total, 300 people had come to witness this event.

The French Ambassador in London, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, told the audience how this project had been made possible thanks to over 50 private benefactors and 13 companies who had all contributed financially to this project. The Ambassador and the Mme Laurence Auer, the head of the French Institute in London had worked very hard at wooing sponsors. Laurence Auer targeted companies as well as private individuals and the Ambassador hosted a number of dinners at his residence in Kensington which helped unlock potential sponsors' purses. Many believe that it was just as well that this fundraising spree took place nearly two years ago and not today.


Arnaud Desplechin, Laurence Auer, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Catherine Deneuve

The evening was a real success despite some small technical problems with mics. Paul Ryan who has been presenting films at the Cine Lumière for a great many years was once again running the show and ran the interview with Catherine Deneuve and Arnaud Desplechin who were both there to present their new film. The Ambassador was clearly overwhelmed and honoured by Catherine Deneuve’s presence and referred to her as ‘la grande dame de la France’.

Back to the Ciné Lumière, the new auditorium is much more comfortable. Gone are the red seats which left little space for your feet. Now the seats are light petrol blue and infinitely more comfortable, making it a much more pleasant experience. We all put them to the test with Arnaud Desplechin’s film lasting 150 minutes…and they passed. Apart from the seats, the new Ciné Lumiere has also been given a brand new digital projection room which indeed has made the quality of both picture and sound infinitely better.

The next day, Paris 36 was launched at Ciné Lumière. This time, Christophe Barratier famous for his first film ‘The Chorus' (les choristes) was accompanied by two members of his cast Gérard Jugnot and Nora Arnezder. The evening was once again a great success despite the evening reception having to be moved from the Ambassador’s residence to the French Institute due to a major demonstration taking place that same day around the Israeli embassy.


Don't delay go and judge the changes for yourself.


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