TOKYO – French actress Catherine Deneuve said on Monday that she was surprised upon receiving Japan’s highest art award, the Praemium Imperiale.
The actress, whose career spans over 60 years, has a filmography of more than a 100 movies.
At a press conference during the presentation of the award winners at Hotel Okura in Tokyo on Monday, Deneuve, 75, said that she was a performer and not a creator.
The actress was accompanied by her compatriot and architect Christian de Portzamparc and Japanese sculptor Fujiko Nakaya.
She said that she had worked with many very different people over the decades.
Deneuve has worked with the controversial director Roman Polanski (“Repulsion,” 1965), Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel (“Belle de Jour,” 1967) and British singer David Bowie, with whom she co-starred in “The Hunger” (1983).
She said she felt honored and thanked Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda with whom she is shooting “La Verite” in Paris – scheduled for release next year – for giving her days off to collect the award.
Deneuve has also been presented with the Cesar Award (1981 and 1993) for “Le Dernier Metro” (1980) and “Indochine” (1992), a Volpi Cup (1998) and a Lumieres award in 2016.
Out of the five 2018 awardees, only three were present at the event as the Belgian painter Pierre Alechinsky, 91, was absent due to health reasons and Italian conductor Riccardo Muti was late for the event.
All the awardees except Alechinsky will be attending Tuesday’s award ceremony, which will be held in Meiji Kinenkan where the draft of the Imperial constitution was developed.
Praemium Imperiale awards 15 million yen ($133,300) and was created in 1988 to commemorate Japan Art Association’s centenary and to honor artists who have made significant contribution to the development of arts and culture.
They have been awarded annually since 1989 in five categories including painting, sculpture, music and theater/cinema.
Artists who have been honored include Italian actress Sophia Loren (2010), Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama (2006) and Brazilian and Spanish architects Oscar Niemeyer (2004) and Rafael Moneo (2017).