Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Jeunet in 2014
Born (1953-09-03) 3 September 1953 (age 70)
Roanne, Loire, France
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, film producer, television director
Years active1978–present
SpouseLiza Sullivan

Jean-Pierre Jeunet (French: [ʒɑ̃ pjɛʁ ʒœnɛ]; born 3 September 1953) is a French filmmaker. His films combine fantasy, realism, and science fiction to create idealized realities or to give relevance to mundane situations.

Jeunet debuted as a director with the acclaimed 1991 black comedy Delicatessen, collaborating with Marc Caro. Jeunet then co-wrote and -directed with Caro again on The City of Lost Children (1995). His work with science fiction and horror led him to direct Alien Resurrection (1997), the fourth film in the Alien film series and his first and thus far only experience with an American film. In 2001, Jeunet achieved his biggest success with the release of Amélie, which won him international acclaim; the film reached BBC's 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century.[1]

Jeunet is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important directors in modern French cinema, and his critical and commercial success has earned him two Academy Award nominations.

Life and career

Jean-Pierre Jeunet was born in Roanne, 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.[2]

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).[citation needed]

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4] The success of The City of Lost Children led to an invitation to direct the fourth film in the Alien series, Alien Resurrection (1997).[5] This is where Jeunet and Caro ended up going their separate ways, as Jeunet believed this to be an amazing opportunity whereas Caro was not interested in working on a big-budget Hollywood movie on which he would lack creative control. Caro ended up assisting for a few weeks with costumes and set design, but then he decided to start a solo career in illustration and computer graphics.[2]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

In 2009, he released Micmacs [9] which is about a man and his friends who come up with an intricate and original plan to destroy two big weapons manufacturers.[10]

Jeunet has also directed numerous commercials including a 2'25" film for Chanel N° 5 featuring his frequent collaborator Audrey Tautou.[citation needed]

In 2013, Jeunet released The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, an adaptation of Reif Larsen's book The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet that starred Kyle Catlett.[11]

In 2016, Jeunet and Romain Segaud co-directed the three-minute stop-motion animation film Deux escargots s'en vont, based on a poem by Jacques Prévert.

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",[12] and indeed his next film, Bigbug, was released by the streaming video company in 2022.

Filmography

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1989 Foutaises Yes Yes No Also editor
2016 Deux escargots s'en vont Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with Romain Segaud

Feature films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1991 Delicatessen Yes Yes No Co-directed with Marc Caro
1995 The City of Lost Children Yes Yes No
1997 Alien Resurrection Yes No No
2001 Amélie Yes Story No
2004 A Very Long Engagement Yes Yes Yes
2009 Micmacs Yes Yes Yes
2013 The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet Yes Yes Executive
2022 Bigbug Yes Yes Yes

Music clips

Acting

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year Category Title Result
2001 Best Foreign Language Film Amélie Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated

César Awards

Year Category Title Result
1981 Best Animated Short Le Manège Won
1991 Foutaises Won
1992 Best Debut Delicatessen Won
Best Writing Won
2001 Best Film Amélie Won
Best Director Won
Best Writing Nominated
2004 Best Film A Very Long Engagement Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Writing Nominated

European Film Awards

Year Category Title Result
1991 Best Film Delicatessen Nominated
2001 Amélie Won
Best Director Won
Best European Film Won
2005 Best Director A Very Long Engagement Nominated

Edgar Awards

Year Category Title Result
2005 Best Scenery Amélie Won

Collaborations

Delicatessen The City of
Lost Children
Alien
Resurrection
Amélie A Very Long
Engagement
Micmacs The Young and
Prodigious Spivet
Bigbug
Aline Bonetto
(Production Designer)
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
Hervé Schneid
(Editor)
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
Urbain Cancelier
☒N
☒N
☒N
Marc Caro
☒N
☒N
Bruno Delbonnel
☒N
☒N
Jean-Claude Dreyfus
☒N
☒N
☒N
Marie-Laure Dougnac
☒N
☒N
André Dussollier
☒N
☒N
☒N
Madeline Fontaine
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
Ticky Holgado
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
Mathieu Kassovitz
☒N
☒N
Darius Khondji
☒N
☒N
☒N
Serge Merlin
☒N
☒N
Yolande Moreau
☒N
☒N
Ron Perlman
☒N
☒N
Dominique Pinon
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
Rufus
☒N
☒N
☒N
☒N
Audrey Tautou
☒N
☒N

Decorations

References

  1. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: Jean-Pierre Jeunet: A Life In Pictures. YouTube.
  2. ^ a b c Ezra, Elizabeth (2008). Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Chicago: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (5 October 1991). "Review/Film Festival; Please, How Many Lentils for Your Musical Saw?". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Holden, Stephen (15 December 1995). "FILM REVIEW;Out of the Fever Dreams of a Child". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (26 November 1997). "FILM REVIEW; Ripley, Believe It or Not, Has a Secret, and It's Not Pretty". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Zalewski, Daniel (28 October 2001). "Film; Going Sweet and Sentimental Has Its Rewards". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "European Film Awards, 2001, The Winners". European Film Academy. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  8. ^ Dargis, Manohla (26 November 2004). "A Love That Won't Surrender to War, Death and Oblivion". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Murphy, Mekado (21 May 2010). "An Eye for Detail, an Imagination at Play". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Jeunet, Jean-Pierre (11 June 2010), Micmacs, retrieved 1 July 2016
  11. ^ Weissberg, Jay (28 September 2013). "Film Review: 'The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet'". Variety. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Nomination dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres janvier 2016". culturecommunication.gouv.fr. 31 March 2016. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016.