Dubbed by the Village Voice as “arguably the most important European director of her generation,” Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman is known for making innovative films that have often earned comparison to those of Jean-Luc Godard or Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Although she rejects the label of “feminist filmmaker,” Akerman has become a guiding light in making films about the real issues faced by women, employing an experimental, deeply personal approach to her subjects.
A disciple of Godard (who first inspired the then-15-year-old Akerman with his Pierre le fou), Akerman attended Brussels’ INSAS film school and the Universite Internationale du Paris. She demonstrated her devotion to Godard with her first amateur short subject, 1968’s Saute Ma Ville (Blow up My Town), which three years after its completion was entered in the Oberhausen Festival. Working on the fringes of show business in New York in the early ’70s, Akerman became an enthusiastic participant in the avant garde film… read more
French filmmaker and screenwriter and set director, René Allio was first recognized for his art work. Later he became a distinguished stage designer and theatrical director.
Allio made his screen debut as a director in 1962 with the animated short La Meule/The Haystack and became known for his creative films. He subsequently continued on to direct such feature films as Pierre et Paul (1969) and I, Pierre Riviere, Having Slit the Throats of My Mother, My Sister and My Brother (1976).
Allio also occasionally penned his own screenplays. In 1965, Aillo won a competing prize at the Venice Film Festival for La Veille Dame Indigne/The Shameless Old Lady. —allmovieguide
Jean Becker (born 10 May 1938, in Paris, France), French filmmaker Jean Becker is the son of famed director Jacques Becker. Young Becker began his career assisting his father and Henri Vemeuil during the 1960s. Later he became known as a competent director in his own right. —thefestguide.com
One of the more pleasing by-products of the “Swinging Sixties,” British stage actress Jane Birkin made a huge international impression in 1966 as one of the two nude models (she was the blonde) in Antonioni’s existential feature film Blow-Up. Since that time, Birkin has often as not appeared in bisexual or androgynous film roles; in Roger Vadim’s Don Juan 73 (1973), she was cast as Brigitte Bardot’s lover. In the 1970s, she launched a second career as a popular recording artist, scoring a worldwide hit with “Je T’aime, Moi Non Plus.” She created a sensation of Blow-Up dimensions in 1987 when, as star and screenwriter of director Agnès Varda’s Kung Fu Master, she played a 40-year-old woman carrying on a torrid affair with a 15-year-old boy. The following year, Varda expressed her admiration for Birkin with the feature-length documentary Jane B. par Agnes V. Rightly regarded by European cinephiles as one of filmdom’s most versatile actresses… read more
Bertrand Blier directs erotic buddy movies featuring men who are exasperated by the opposite sex, who perceive of themselves as macho but are incapable of satisfying the women in their lives. In actuality, his heroes are terrified of feminism, of the “new woman” who demands her right to experience and enjoy orgasm. But Blier’s females are in no way villainesses. They are just elusive—and so alienated that they can only find fulfillment from oddballs or young boys.
Going Places (Les Valseuses , which in French is slang for testicles), based on Blier’s best-selling novel, was a box office smash in France. Gérard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere both achieved stardom as a couple of outsiders, adult juvenile delinquents, whose sexual and sadistic adventures are chronicled as they travel across France. They are both unable to bring to orgasm a young beautician (played by Miou-Miou) they pick up and take on as a sexual partner. They then attempt to please an older woman (Jeanne Moreau… read more
Primarily known as a stage director in his native France, Patrice Chéreau has also made quite a name for himself in the realm of cinema with such acclaimed features as Queen Margot (1994) and Intimacy (2001). The Lezigne native crossed from stage to screen with the 1975 thriller Flesh and the Orchid, and the auspicious debut earned its up-and-coming director two César nominations. In 1984, Chéreau shared a Best Writing César with Hervé Guibert for his feature The Wounded Man, and in 1994, Chéreau scored his biggest hit to date with the bloody historical drama Queen Margot. Adapted from Alexandre Dumas’ novel, Queen Margot was nominated for Best Costume Design at the 1995 Academy Awards in addition to taking home top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and the César Awards. Following a pair of successful television endeavors, Chéreau returned to the screen to great success with the emotional drama Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (1998). An introspective tale of an artist’s final… read more
The French director Alain Corneau made 16 films in a variety of genres, from Série Noire, the bleak, sordid 1979 drama that featured a compelling performance by Patrick Dewaere as a door to door salesman looking for redemption in the wrong places, to Crime D’Amour [Love Crime], the psychological thriller starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, which opened in French cinemas to critical acclaim a fortnight before his death from lung cancer. “He was a cinema great,” Scott Thomas said, “an absolutely adorable, funny and sharp-witted man.” Corneau was best known internationally for Tous Les Matins Du Monde (All The Mornings Of The World), a delicate, painterly film about the relationship between the Versailles court composer Marin Marais – Gérard Depardieu and his son Guillaume – and his aesthetic teacher Jean de Sainte-Colombe, played by the ever-excellent Jean-Pierre Marielle. First screened at the end of 1991, Tous Les Matins became a word-of-mouth success with over two million… read more
Costa-Gavras is a Greek filmmaker, best known for films with overt political themes, most famously the fast-paced thriller, Z (1969). Most of his movies were made in French; starting with Missing (1982), several were made in English.
Gavras was born in Loutra Iraias, Arcadia. His family spent the Second World War in a village in the Peloponnese, and moved to Athens after the war. His father had been a member of the left-wing EAM branch of the Greek Resistance, and was imprisoned after the war as a suspected communist. His father’s record made it impossible for him to attend university or emigrate to the United States, so after high school Costa Gavras went to France, where he began his studies of law in 1951.
In 1956, he left his university studies to study film at the French national film school, IDHEC. After film school, he apprenticed under Yves Allégret, and became an assistant director for Jean Giono and René Clair. After several further positions as first assistant… read more
A provocative director whose films offer richly textured, contemplative examinations of cross-cultural tensions and alienation, Claire Denis is one of French cinema’s most distinctive and humanistic storytellers. A prolific filmmaker who is more concerned with the drive of her characters rather than the plot that weaves them together, she has been dubbed by one critic as one of the only current French directors who “has been able to reconcile the lyricism of French cinema with the impulse to capture the often harsh face of contemporary France.”
Born in Paris on April 21, 1948, Denis, the daughter of a civil servant, was raised in a series of African countries until she was 14, when her family returned to France. She learned about filmmaking as an assistant to a number of notable directors, including Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law), and Costa-Gavras (Hanna K.). She made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 1988 with Chocolat, a lush exploration… read more
Raymond Depardon is a photographer, a journalist and a filmmaker. He was born into a family of farmers in 1942 in Burgundy and went to Paris in 1958, wishing to be a photographer. He was first taken on as a messenger in an agency and was sent to take photos of an opening-night at the cinema: the movie was none other than Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. He finally established his own agency, Gamma, together with three reporters, in 1966 ‘not for money but for the freedom’. He suggested to set up a cinema department: ‘we bought an Eclair- camera and tried to make news-films for television in addition to taking news-photograhs… It was then that I learned to hold the camera." When Depardon films people, he is silent. If one has the impression that he always keeps his eyes lowered in the face of the world’s miseries, it is untrue. Raymond Depardon looks as through a lattice and reacts like quicksilver, keeping his deepest, innermost emotion secret, and allows his pictures to speak for themselves… read more
Jacques Deray (February 19, 1929 in Lyon – August 9, 2003 Boulogne-Billancourt) was a French film director and screenwriter. Deray is prominently known for directing many crime and thriller films
Born Jacques Desrayaud in Lyon, France in 1929 to a family of Lyons industrialists. At the age of 12 he went to Paris to study drama under René Simon. Deray played in minor roles on the stage and in films from the age of 19. From 1952, Deray worked as assistant to a number of directors, including Luis Buñuel, Gilles Grangier, Jules Dassin, and Jean Boyer.
Deray’s first film was the drama Le Gigolo released in 1960. Deray was fascinated by American film noir and began to focus on crime stories. Deray’s early work includes Du rififi à Tokyo, an homage to Jules Dassin’s Rififi. Deray’s reputation was established with the 1969 film La Piscine which starred Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. La Piscine was not distributed widely outside France, but the follow-up gave Deray his biggest… read more
Michel Deville (born 13 April 1931) is a French film director and screenwriter.
Deville started his filmmaking career in the late 1950s, paralleling the emergence of the French New Wave directors. He never achieved the level of critical and international recognition of some of his contemporaries such as François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Chabrol, possibly because of his more conventional filmmaking style. Nevertheless his films, especially his comedies from the 1970s and 1980s, were popular in his native France.
One of Deville’s comedies, La Lectrice (“The Reader”) was probably his biggest success with international audiences. La Lectrice is about a woman (played by Miou-Miou), who finds work reading novels for the blind but gradually finds herself unwittingly attracting a clientele of fetishists who enjoyed being read to. At one time his films were difficult to find in North America but presently(2007) seven of his films are available in DVD in the U.S.
His… read more
A remarkably humanistic writer/director whose introspective features often dwell on youthful malaise, French filmmaker Jacques Doillon has an uncanny knack for exploring human nature and the impact of people’s actions on those most dear to them. Perhaps it was his penchant for directing documentary shorts early on that gave Doillon his insight, but by the time he moved into feature territory in the early ‘70s he had suitably mastered the ability to tell a solid and affecting story. In 1979, Doillon was nominated for two César awards for his compelling psychological drama The Hussy, and his 1984 film La Pirate was a Golden Palm nominee at the Cannes Film Festival. By the 1990s, Doillon’s career had gained effective momentum. His 1990 film Le Petit Criminel, which told the involving tale of a troubled adolescent, was nominated for multiple César awards. After his success with film Le Jeune Werther in 1993, the director scored his biggest international hit to date with the 1996 drama Ponette… read more
Martine Franck (April 2, 1938 – August 16, 2012) was a well-known Belgian documentary and portrait photographer, and the second wife of Henri Cartier-Bresson. A member of Magnum Photos for more 32 years, Franck was also co-founder and president of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation.
Franck was born in Antwerp to a Belgian banker and his British wife, and after her birth the family moved almost immediately to London. A year later, her father joined the British army, and the rest of the family was evacuated to the United States, spending the remainder of the Second World War in Long Island and Arizona.
Franck’s father was an amateur art collector who often took his daughter to visit galleries and museums. Franck was in boarding school from the age of six onwards, and her mother sent her a postcard every day, frequently of paintings. Franck has said that in high school she loved art history, and planned to become a curator.
Franck was often described as elegant… read more
Bernard Giraudeau (18 June 1947 – 17 July 2010) was a French actor, film director, scriptwriter, producer and writer. Giraudeau was born in La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime. In 1963 he enlisted in the French navy as a trainee engineer, qualifying as the first in his class a year later. He served on the helicopter carrier Jeanne d’Arc in 1964–1965 and 1965–1966, and subsequently on the frigate Duquesne and the aircraft carrier Clemenceau before leaving the navy to try his luck as an actor.
He was married to actress and author Anny Duperey, with whom he had two children; one of them, Sara Giraudeau, has achieved success as an actress.
Giraudeau first appeared on film in Deux hommes dans la ville (1973), and his first film as director was in 1987, though he continued to work as an actor. As a writer, wrote the text of books of photography as well as publishing children’s stories (Contes d’Humahuaca, 2002) and several novels. He was also the reader on the French audio books… read more
Francis Girod (9 October 1944 – 19 November 2006) was a French film director, actor and screenwriter. He directed 20 films between 1974 and 2006. His film L’enfance de l’art was entered into the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. In 1994, he was a member of the jury at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival. —Wikipedia
The lynchpin of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard was arguably the most influential filmmaker of the postwar era. Beginning with his groundbreaking 1959 feature debut A Bout de Souffle, Godard revolutionized the motion picture form, freeing the medium from the shackles of its long-accepted cinematic language by rewriting the rules of narrative, continuity, sound, and camera work. Later in his career, he also challenged the common means of feature production, distribution, and exhibition, all in an effort to subvert the conventions of the Hollywood formula to create a new kind of film.
Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children. After receiving his primary education in Nyon, Switzerland – during World War II, he became a naturalized Swiss citizen – he studied ethnology at the Sorbonne, but spent the vast majority of his days at the Cine-Club du Quartier Latin, where he first met fellow film fanatics Francois Truffaut and Jacques Rivette. In May… read more
Politically committed to the left, Romain Goupil, born in 1951, is the most eloquent representative of the spirit of the revolution of May 1968. From his first feature in 1982, Mourir à 30 ans (1982) to his latest to date Hands Up (2010), he has managed to remain faithful to his ideals, quite a feat if you think of all of his fellow revolutionaries who have changed sides, lured by money and/or power. His films, whether documentaries or fiction, have failed -with one or two exceptions – to draw large audience but they will remain a mirror of a whole generation —IMDB
Robert Kramer was born in New York in 1940. He studied philosophy and Western European History at Swarthmore College and Stanford University.
In the 1960’s he made his mark as the great filmmaker of the American radical left whose first films painted a portrait of a generation of militants marked by their opposition to the war in Vietnam (In the country, The Edge, and Ice). He was the founder and prime mover of the Newsreel movement. He has travelled to Latin America, North Vietnam in the middle of the war (People’s war), then in Portugal after the April Revolution (Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal, and Gestos e fragmentos), and in post-independance Angola. Once the most directly political era was over and was captured and represented by Kramer in all its ambiguities and contradictions, he has never stopped reflecting in his films on the “heart of darkness” of the West – that dominating madness that he had shown in Le manteau as a “line that goes through time”. read more
French filmmaker Patrice Leconte is as notable for his refusal to be easily categorized as he is for his long and productive career. Since making his major directorial debut in 1975 with Les Vécés Étaient Fermés de L’Intérieur, Leconte has established himself as one of France’s most respected directors, at ease tackling subjects ranging from mental illness to sexuality to canny deconstructions of wit and society. He received particular acclaim for his 1996 film Ridicule, winning the admiration of an international audience while furthering his reputation as one of the French cinema’s most treasured figures.
A native Parisian, Leconte was born on November 12, 1947. He decided to be a filmmaker at a very young age, and went on to attend France’s most prestigious film school, I.D.H.E.C. During his education, constant visits to the Paris Cinémathèque aided in his understanding of cinematography culture. After graduating from I.D.H.E.C. in 1969, Leconte went against the cinematic grain… read more
Anne-Marie Miéville (born 11 November 1945 in Lausanne) is a Swiss filmmaker, principally known for her work in collaboration with her husband Jean-Luc Godard. —Wikipedia
Moon, Sarah (b. 1940), British-born fashion photographer and film-maker, resident in Paris. After studying art she worked as a model, then, from 1967, a photographer. Her carefully staged images are mysterious, nostalgic, and surreal, sepia toned or in colours muted and diffused by grain. Some evoke fairy tales: for example, a one-eyed, dandyish old tom-cat-in-clothes being cosseted by two demure young women. Her 1972 Pirelli Calendar pictures suggested an ultra-exclusive 1930s brothel. She has made films about Cartier-Bresson (1994), and early cinematography (Lumière & Company; 1995). —Photography Encyclopedia
French leading man Michel Piccoli spent most of his time from 1945 through 1955 on the French stage, primarily with Theatre Babylone and the Reynauld-Barrault Company. He enjoyed nominal film stardom from 1955 onward, though it was not until 1961’s Le Doulos that he truly became “box office,” specializing in worldly, cynical roles. Like Hollywood’s Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Gary Cooper, Piccoli was possessed of that rare gift of being able to adapt himself to virtually any kind of material without altering his essential screen persona. And like those aforementioned actors, Piccoli’s talents suited the prerequisites of a wide variety of directors: not many contemporary performers can claim to have worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Costa-Gavras, Luis Bunuel, and Louis Malle. Piccoli’s acting awards include a Cannes Festival prize for 1979’s Salto nel Vuoto and a 1982 Berlin Festival honor for Une Etrange Affaire. In 1991, Piccoli once again won international acclaim… read more
While a seminal figure of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais was not, like so many of his contemporaries, an alumnus of the film journal Cahiers du Cinema. In fact, he existed well outside of the sphere of filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Jacques Rivette, with a dedication to formalism, modernist concerns, and social and political issues not found in the work of his fellow innovators. Focusing repeatedly on themes of time and memory, Resnais drew from the well of serious literature to offer a singular philosophical and artistic vantage point, employing enigmatic narrative structures, lush cinematography, and lyrical editing patterns to create some of the most provocative and controversial work of the period. Born June 3, 1922, in Vannes, France, Resnais began making his first 8 mm films at the age of 14. In 1943 he enrolled at the newly formed Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographie, leaving the following year after declaring his studies too theoretical. He… read more
Born in 1947 in Paris to stage director Jean-Marie Serreau and writer Genevieve Serreau, Coline grew up as a young girl surrounded by artists.
After high school, she decided to follow her parents’ lead and embraced an artistic life and career. While studying literature and classic and modern dance, she joined the Conservatoire de Musique and began taking trapeze lessons at Annie Fratellini’s Circus School. On her way to becoming an accomplished artist, she set her sight on drama and began to study with Andreas Voutsinas (also the teacher of Jean Reno). After l’Ecole de la rue Blanche, she joined the Comédie-Française", appearing for the first time on stage in 1970. She would later appear on stage in Café de la Gare by the side of Romain Bouteille, Coluche and Patrick Dewaere.
After revealing her talent in a wide range of productions, including productions in Cafés Theatres and repertoire classics (especially Shakespeare’s Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like… read more
One of France’s premiere directors, screenwriters, and producers, Bertrand Tavernier is renowned for making dramas encompassing themes as diverse as familial relationships, World War I, and contemporary social ills. Regardless of the subjects they explore, Tavernier lends his films great introspection and humanity, something that has established him as one of the French cinema’s more progressive and compassionate figures.
Born in Lyon on April 25, 1941, Tavernier grew up with a love of film and wanted to be a director from the age of 13. He was particularly influenced by such American directors as Joseph Losey, John Ford, Samuel Fuller, and William Wellman, and – during a spell at the Sorbonne, where he studied law – he became involved in the film industry as an assistant director for Jean-Pierre Melville. Tavernier became then a film critic and worked for prestigious publications as Positif and Cahiers du Cinema. His first feature film, L’Horloger de St. Paul (1974), received international… read more