"The 'Queen' Catherine,” says Thierry Frémaux, the Lumière Festival director. “She's more than an actress, she's a personality. The way an artist chooses who they work with says a lot about them. From her role with Danielle Darrieux, Jacques Demy, with Luis Bunuel, and today she goes along with the young film makers. She also fought a lot for women in the 1970s and 80s. She's a star. Mysterious and approachable at the same time."
Deneuve (born Dorleac) has more than 100 films to her credit.
Her first film experience, in The Twilight Girls, was at the age of 13 in 1957.
Since then she has taken on an exceptional range of roles in, for example, Demy's musicals - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964, The Young Girls of Rochefort, 1967 - comedies - Jaco Van Dormael's The Brand New Testament, 2015 - dramas Bunuel's Belle du Jour, 1967, François Truffaut's The Last Métro, 1980, Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark, 2000.
She's sought after for both art-house and mainstream films and has received two César awards from the French Cinema Academy.
Deneuve will receive her award at the Lumière festival in Lyon on 14 October.
Another special guest will be Chinese film heroine Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern, Coming Home).
In its History of Women in Cinema section, the festival has also programmed a retrospective of the works of Dorothy Arzner, one of the rare women Hollywood directors of the 1940s and 50s (Dance Girl Dance, 1940, starring Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball).
The Lyonnais brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, invented cinema 120 years ago.
The film festival named after them and held in their city, specialises in classics and restored film.
The nine-day festival scrambles the notion of age and generations on and off screen and is contributes to the cinema world’s very current gender rebalancing act.