Jean-Pierre Jeunet (French: [ʒɑ̃ pjɛʁ ʒœnɛ]; born 3 September 1953) is a French film director, producer, and screenwriter. His films mix elements of fantasy, realism and science fiction either to create idealized realities or to give relevance to mundane situations. A former animator, his movies are marked by quirky, slapstick humor, alongside surrealist visuals.
Jeunet in 2009
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, film producer, television director|
Debuting as a director with the acclaimed 1991 black comedy Delicatessen alongside his collaborator Marc Caro, Jeunet went to collaborate with Caro once again with The City of Lost Children (1995). His work with science fiction and horror led Jeunet to become the fourth director to helm the Alien film series with Alien Resurrection (1997), his first and only experience with an American film. In 2001, he would find his biggest success with the release of Amélie, gaining international acclaim and reaching BBC's 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important directors in modern French cinema, his critical and commercial success earned him three BAFTA Awards for Best Direction and two Academy Award nominations.
Life and career
Jean-Pierre Jeunet was born in Roanne, Loire, France. He bought his first camera at the age of 17 and made short films while studying animation at Cinémation Studios. He befriended Marc Caro, a designer and comic book artist who became his longtime collaborator and co-director. They met at an animation festival in Annecy in the 1970s.
Together, Jeunet and Caro directed award-winning animations. Their first live action film was The Bunker of the Last Gunshots (1981), a short film about soldiers in a bleak futuristic world. Jeunet also directed numerous advertisements and music videos, such as Jean Michel Jarre's Zoolook (together with Caro).
Jeunet's films often resonate with the late twentieth century French film movement, cinéma du look, and allude to themes and aesthetics involving German expressionism, French poetic realism, and the French New Wave.
Jeunet and Caro's first feature film was Delicatessen (1991), a melancholy comedy set in a famine-plagued post-apocalyptic world, in which an apartment building above a delicatessen is ruled by a butcher who kills people in order to feed his tenants.
They next made The City of Lost Children (1995), a dark, multi-layered fantasy film about a mad scientist who steals children's dreams so that he can live indefinitely. The success of The City of Lost Children led to an invitation to direct the fourth film in the Alien series, Alien Resurrection (1997). This is where Jeunet and Caro ended up going their separate ways as Jeunet believed this to be an amazing opportunity and Caro was not interested in a film that lacked creative control working on a big-budget Hollywood movie. Caro ended up assisting for a few weeks, with costumes and set design but afterwards, decided to work on a solo career in illustration and computer graphics.
Jeunet directed Amélie (2001), the story of a woman who takes pleasure in doing good deeds but has trouble finding love herself, which starred Audrey Tautou. Amélie was a huge critical and commercial success worldwide and was nominated for several Academy Awards. For his work on the film, Jeunet won a European Film Award for Best Director.
In 2004, Jeunet released A Very Long Engagement, an adaptation of the novel by Sébastien Japrisot. The film, starring Audrey Tautou and Jodie Foster, chronicled a woman's search for her missing lover after World War I.
In 2009, he released Micmacs which is about a man and his friends who come up with an intricate and original plan to destroy two big weapons manufacturers.
Jeunet has also directed numerous commercials including a 2'25" film for Chanel N° 5 featuring his frequent collaborator Audrey Tautou.
Since his last release, Jeunet has tried to get other projects funded but has found it impossible to find investors willing to take a risk on his quirky films. He stated in 2019 that he may go to Netflix "as a last resort."
|1995||The City of Lost Children||Yes||Yes||No|
|2004||Madame Édouard||No||No||No||Technical Advisor|
|A Very Long Engagement||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2013||The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet||Yes||Yes||Executive|
- 1984 : La Fille aux bas nylon by Julien Clerc
- 1985 : Zoolook by Jean Michel Jarre, with Marc Caro
- 1987 : Tombé pour la France
- 1987 : Hélène by Julien Clerc
- 1988 : Souvenez-vous de nous by Claudia Phillips
- 1989 : Cache ta joie by Claudia Phillips
- 1991 : L'Autre Joue by Lio
- 2017: Pourvu by Gauvain Sers
Awards and nominations
- César Award for Best Animated Short Film for Le Manège
- Jean-Pierre Jeunet: A Life In Pictures. YouTube.
- Ezra, Elizabeth (2008). Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Chicago: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.
- Maslin, Janet (5 October 1991). "Review/Film Festival; Please, How Many Lentils for Your Musical Saw?". The New York Times.
- Holden, Stephen (15 December 1995). "FILM REVIEW;Out of the Fever Dreams of a Child". The New York Times.
- Maslin, Janet (26 November 1997). "FILM REVIEW; Ripley, Believe It or Not, Has a Secret, and It's Not Pretty". The New York Times.
- Zalewski, Daniel (28 October 2001). "Film; Going Sweet and Sentimental Has Its Rewards". The New York Times.
- Dargis, Manohla (26 November 2004). "A Love That Won't Surrender to War, Death and Oblivion". The New York Times.
- Murphy, Mekado (21 May 2010). "An Eye for Detail, an Imagination at Play". The New York Times.
- Jeunet, Jean-Pierre (11 June 2010), Micmacs, retrieved 1 July 2016
- Weissberg, Jay; Weissberg, Jay (28 September 2013). "Film Review: 'The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet'". Variety. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
- Aguilar, Carlos (6 May 2019). "Jean-Pierre Jeunet Is Making an 'Amelie' Mockumentary and a Sci-Fi Animated Feature — Exclusive". IndieWire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
- "Nomination dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres janvier 2016". culturecommunication.gouv.fr. 31 March 2016.
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