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JIC Post: From Agence France PresseLegendary French screen star Catherine Deneuve said she was surprised that Oscar-contending gay cowboy film Brokeback Mountain had become a hit with audiences in the United States.The veteran actress said she thought that homophobia in America would prevent the film -- about a secret love affair between a ranch hand and rodeo cowboy -- from becoming a commercial success.I didn't think it would be so successful, Denueve told reporters at the fourth Bangkok International Film Festival where she will be presented with a Golden Kinnaree Career Achievement Award at a ceremony on Friday.When a reporter suggested homophobia and right wing activists in the U.S. could have been expected to sink the film by Taiwanese director Ang Lee, Deneuve nodded and said, absolutely.I suppose it's the right film at the right time for the American (film market), said the 62-year-old star. You wouldn't think that because of homophobia it could be popular, she said. But it's also one of the strengths of the American people that they are surprising, she added.Though widely screened in the U.S., two cinemas banned the film which has already scooped up a host of film awards and leads nominations for the 2006 Oscars with eight nods, including best picture, best director and best actor.One of French cinema's grand dames, Deneuve rose to fame in 1964 after appearing in Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg which will be screened at the festival Tuesday. She has won awards for her roles in Regis Wargnier's Indochine (1992), Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro and Luis Bunuel's Belle de Jour (1967), as well as starring in Roman Polanski's Repulsion and Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark.Deneuve, who is on a break from filming Thierry Klifa's Le Heros de la Famille (The Hero of the Family) in Paris, said one of her greatest achievements was lasting so long in the business, though things may have been different had she moved to Hollywood.Being able to work in Europe with European directors it's easier to go on working, she said.Deneuve said modern actresses had stronger film roles nowadays but lamented that there are fewer parts for women in film.The Bangkok film festival, which features 160 movies from some 50 countries, runs until February 27th.
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