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.
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 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.
Jeunet directed Amélie, starring Audrey Tautou.Amélie continued the surrealist vibe of his earlier films, but was happier in tone and added romantic and comedic elements. This story, about a woman who takes pleasure in doing good deeds but has trouble finding love herself, was a huge critical and commercial success worldwide and was nominated for several Academy Awards. For this film, Jeunet also gained a European Film Award for Best Director.