Kassovitz at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival
3 August 1967 |
|Occupation||Actor, director, screenwriter, producer|
|Spouse(s)||Julie Mauduech (separated; 1 child)|
Kassovitz was born in Paris, the son of Chantal Rémy, a film editor, and Peter Kassovitz, a director and writer. His mother is French and Catholic and his father is a Hungarian Jew who left Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (Mathieu Kassovitz has described himself as "not Jewish but I was brought up in a world of Jewish humor").
Kassovitz was married to French ex-actress Julie Mauduech, whom he directed and acted alongside in his 1993 film Métisse (Café au lait, English title) and who made a brief appearance in La Haine (during the scene in the Parisian art gallery). They have a daughter, Carmen. Mauduech is now a costume designer for films.
As a filmmaker, Kassovitz has made several artistic and commercial successes. He wrote and directed La Haine (Hate, 1995), a film dealing with themes around class, race, violence, and police brutality. The film won the César Award for Best Film and netted Kassovitz the Best Director prize at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. When he was compared to Spike Lee because the film was being compared to Lee's Do the Right Thing, he noted the irony:
I don't know if it's really important, or intelligent even, when people say to me I'm a white Spike Lee, because they said to Spike Lee you're a black Woody Allen.—
He later directed Les Rivières Pourpres (2000), a police detective thriller starring Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel, another massive commercial success in France, and Gothika (2003), a fantasy thriller (considered by some to be a commercial failure, although it grossed over three times its roughly $40 million budget), with Halle Berry and Penélope Cruz. He directed Gothika to earn the money he needed to develop a far more personal project Babylon Babies, the adaptation of one of Maurice Dantec's books. Kassovitz established the film production firm MNP Entreprise in 2000 "to develop and produce feature films by Kassovitz and to represent him as a director and actor." MNP Entreprise is responsible for the co-productions of a number of films including Avida (2006) in which Kassovitz acts and Babylon A.D. which he directed. Kassovitz purchased the film rights for the novel Johnny Mad Dog by Congolese writer Emmanuel Dongala. The film was also co-produced by MNP Entreprise, and directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire. The premiere of the film was made at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival where it was screened within the Un Certain Regard section.
MNP Entreprise's upcoming titles are Rebellion, MNP and also Dust Motion, that he will co-direct with young director K-Michel Parandi. Kassovitz will both star in and direct Rebellion, a war film based on a true story of French commandos who clashed with tribes in New Caledonia, the Melanesian territory of France. The film was released in 2011. His future project science fiction film MNP is named after Mir Space Station, whose writing in Cyrillic letters (Мир) look like the letters MNP, and also the production company.
Kassovitz is most famous outside France for his acting role as Nino Quincampoix in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film Amélie. Among many other credits, he also had small roles in La Haine (which he also directed), Birthday Girl, Café Au Lait and The Fifth Element. He also played one of the main roles in Amen. (2003) by Costa-Gavras. Kassovitz is also recognizable for playing a conflicted Belgian explosives expert in Steven Spielberg's controversial 2005 film Munich, alongside Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush. Kassovitz was a jury member for the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
Views on Sarkozy
In November 2005, riots spread throughout suburbs of Paris following the deaths of two teenagers of North African descent, who were accidentally electrocuted while avoiding police ID checks and questioning. The question of whether young men were victims of racial discrimination set off a chain reaction of violence in schools, gyms, and police stations, and an aggressive response from then-Home Office Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy stirred controversy and outrage when he said the rioters were "rabble" and should be "cleansed" from the banlieues (suburbs) with a "fire hose".
Kassovitz, whose film La Haine ten years earlier had first highlighted the tensions between police and suburbs population, and stirred national dialogue, publicly responded to Sarkozy via his blog. He took the minister to task, saying that Sarkozy held "ideas that not only reveal his inexperience of politics and human relations, but which also illuminate the purely demagogical and egocentric aspects of a puny, would-be Napoleon."
In a 2012 interview, he labeled the outgoing Sarkozy administration as "horrible".
- Métisse / Café au lait (1993)
- La Haine / Hate (1995)
- Assassin(s) (1997)
- Les rivières pourpres / The Crimson Rivers (2000)
- Gothika (2003)
- Babylon A.D. (2008)
- Rebellion (2011), French title: L'Ordre et la Morale - filming in the islands of ‘Ana‘a and Tahiti since the end of August 2010. Release date (in France): 16 November 2011
- Dust Motion (2011) announced
As an actor
- Au bout du bout du banc (1979) - Mathias Oppenheim
- Next Year If All Goes Well (1981) - Le petit garçon
- Fierrot le pou (1990)
- Touch and Die (1991) - Piaz
- Assassins... (1992)
- French Summer (1992) - Un auto-stoppeur
- Café au lait (1993) - Felix
- Putain de porte (1994)
- Elle voulait faire quelque chose (1994)
- See How They Fall (1994) - Johnny
- Les Fleurs de Maria Papadopylou (1995)
- The City of Lost Children (1995) (uncredited) - Man on the street
- La Haine (Hate) (1995) - Young Skinhead
- My Man (1996) (uncredited) - 1st Client: Clement
- A Self Made Hero (1996) - Albert Dehousse
- News from the Good Lord (1996)
- Assassin(s) (1997) - Max
- The Fifth Element (1997) - Mugger
- Pleasure (And Its Little Inconveniences) (1998) - Roland
- Jakob the Liar (1999) - Herschel
- Amélie (2001) - Nino Quincampoix
- Birthday Girl (2001) - Yuri
- Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002) - Physionomiste banquet
- Amen. (2002) - Riccardo Fontana
- Munich (2005) - Robert
- Avida (2006) - Le producteur chanceux
- Louise Michel (2007) -
- The Prodigies (2011) - Jimbo Farrar
- L'Ordre et la Morale (2011) - Capt. Philippe Legorjus (GIGN)
- La vie d'une autre (2012) -
- Haywire (2012) - Studer
- Le Guetteur (2012) - - Vincent Kaminski
Awards and nominations
- 1994: Nominated for a César Award for Best Newcomer and Best Debut Film
- 1995: Won Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival for La Haine.
- 1995: Won a César Award for Best Newcomer
- 2001: Nominated for Best Director for The Crimson Rivers
- 2001: Won Gold Star for Best Director for The Crimson Rivers
- 2003: Nominated for a César Award for Best Actor for Amen.
In 2009, he won with Tesla Roadster the Rallye Monte Carlo des Véhicules à Énergie Alternative (starting event of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup) in the category reserved to electric vehicles.
- "Mathieu Kassovitz Biography (1967-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
- Riding, Alan (1994-08-14). "A French Director Straight Out of (Enfin) Spike Lee". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
- "Festival de Cannes: La Haine". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- Mathieu Kassovitz - Biography
- "MNP Entreprise". En.unifrance.org. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
- "Festival de Cannes : Film details 2008". Festival-cannes.fr. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
- Leffler, Rebecca (2008-05-21). "Kassovitz leading 'Rebellion', big-budget 'MNP'". The Hollywood Reporter, the Daily from Cannes (Cannes) (8): p.22.
- "La haine: Kassovitz vs. Sarkozy - From the Current - The Criterion Collection". Criterion.com. 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
-  "Hungarians are crazy" Index.hu 2012
- Classement final officiel 2009, in ACM.mc.
- (French) Nouveau record du monde: un véhicule électrique parcourt 390 kilomètres, World Sports Events.