Françoise Dorléac, Catherine Deneuve's sister, obsessed me throughout my teenage years on the strength of three movies and a glamorous photo-spread of the two sisters in Look magazine.  The three movies were Truffaut's La Peau Douce, de Broca's L'Homme de Rio and Polanski's Cul-deSac.  In each of them Dorléac was a luminous presence — she had more than a little of her sister's remote mystery but without the barriers that seemed to forbid an approach to that mystery.

Photos of the sisters together suggested a kind of hall of mirrors, as though you were seeing multiple sides of the same woman from different angles.

Dorléac died in a car crash near Nice in 1967, when she was 25 years-old.  The crash created an explosion and Dorléac could only be identified by some personal possessions in the car that survived the fire.

She has haunted my imagination ever since.  Whenever I see images of Deneuve, I see the image of Dorléac's ghost in her face.


  1. Your observations are always very insightful. Whenever I hear of some beautiful dying in their youth and beauty (Sharon Tate) it hurts. Beauty in all its various forms always registers in me as painful to gaze upon, because one wants to get closer to it in some way, some how, but cannot do so. We must remain remote observers, ever longing and never fulfilled.

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