El Mechri was born in Versailles, France. He has directed a number of films. After his three shorts Mounir et Anita, Generation Cutter and Concours de circonstance, he directed his first long feature Virgil in 2005 about the life of a boxer, followed by a comedy entitled Stand Up!. His 2008 movie entitled JCVD about Jean-Claude Van Damme and featuring him as the actor garnered Mabrouk El Mechri critical acclaim. The film, a comedy drama and at certain times biographical of Van Damme was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, 2008 Rome Film Festival (L'Altro Cinema) and the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival (Midnight Madness). He is now working on his new movie Sage femme (2008) featuring Vanessa Paradis. He was married to actress Audrey Dana, with whom he had a child in 2008. He is now in a relationship with Virginie Efira who is expecting his child.