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Sunday, 1 September, 2002, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Deneuve attacks 'special effects' films
Catherine Deneuve
Deneuve's role was written for her by director Tonie Marshall
French actress Catherine Deneuve has hit out at Hollywood's preoccupation with special effects.

Speaking at the Venice Film Festival, the 58 year-old actress said "the soul has been taken out" of film-making - and that good acting was losing out.

Ms Deneuve, whose Au Plus Pres Du Paradis is one of 21 films competing for the festival's Golden Lion award, said that contemporary films were less likely to produce memorable characters.

"The love of technology is bigger than characterisation these days.

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks is also in Venice, promoting his new film
"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," she told reporters.

Au Plus Pres Du Paradis ("Nearest To Heaven") uses some special effects itself - to make a former lover appear and disappear like a ghost.

But the film was written specifically for Ms Deneuve, said French director Tonie Marshall, who added that he was inspired by the actress's past declaration that she was "an actress, yes, but at heart a lover".

Ms Deneuve, who made her breakthrough in the classic 1964 musical Les Parapluies De Cherbourg, said: "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."

Thriller

Also in Venice was one of today's biggest film names, US actor Tom Hanks.

The two-time Oscar winner was promoting his new film Road to Perdition - a gangster thriller seen as break with his "nice guy" image.

But the actor denied he was consciously changing course.

"I didn't see this as wanting to break out of any mould or image," he said

"The audience knows I'm playing a role."

Director Sam Mendes, who also made Oscar-winning American Beauty, said he knew Hanks was right for the role from the start.

"He was in my mind from the first time I read the script," told a news conference Saturday.

"Like in American Beauty, the one thing better than having great actors is having actors do something they've never done before."

Road To Perdition is also in competition for the Golden Lion award.


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