France’s Dueling Divas

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Catherine Deneuve is the Parisian blonde bombshell best known for films such as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Belle du Jour and Roman Polanski’s Repulsion.

Often drawn to the darker corners of cinema, Isabelle Huppert is the alluring, mysterious icon best known for her sadistic role in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher and La Ceremonie.

On December 9th, these former co-stars will collide on the big screen as their new films open at MDC’s Tower Theater. It’s the weekend of the French dueling divas – but which film will you choose?


Huppert in particular is having quite a year. The talk of the town at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, she’s currently receiving major Oscar buzz for her role in Paul Verhoeven’s latest film Elle, a boundary-pushing picture that centers around the main character’s conflicting response to a violent sexual assault.

But before Elle’s release at the Tower Theater comes Mia Hansen Love’s Things to Come, a French drama in which Huppert plays a middle-aged woman going through some intense soul-searching after her husband of 25 years leaves her. It’s a film of uncommon intelligence, with Variety calling Huppert’s performance “…major, many-shaded work even by her lofty standards.”


But with all its critical acclaim (the film currently has a whopping 100% on Rotten Tomatoes), Things to Come is not without its competition. Opening the same day is Deneuve’s The Brand New Testament, which is Belgium’s official entry to the 2017 Academy Awards. Funny and imaginative, this religious satire has God living in human form with his daughter in present-day Brussels. Only problem is, he’s a real jerk. When his daughter comes to the conclusion that he’s doing a terrible job, she sets out on a mission to save the world from her father. In the film, Deneuve stars as a new apostle in a loveless marriage who leaves her husband — and goes to bed with — a gorilla.

While their films are as different as can be, one thing is for certain: these fearless French icons’ tastes for the extreme don’t seem to be getting any tamer with age.

Things to Come and The Brand New Testament open at MDC’s Tower Theater on December 9.

Lauren Cohen

Lauren Cohen is Miami Film Festival's Co-Director of Programming. She also runs the Festival’s membership level for young professionals, CineClub. Learn more about Lauren on Programmers.