Abdellatif Kechiche

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Abdellatif Kechiche
عبد اللطيف كشيش
Abdellatif Kechiche Cannes 2013.jpg
Kechiche at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Born (1960-12-07) 7 December 1960 (age 62)
Occupation(s)Actor, film director, screenwriter, producer
Years active1982–present
Notable workPoetical Refugee

Abdellatif Kechiche (French: [abdɛlatif keʃiʃ]; Arabic: عبد اللطيف كشيش, born 7 December 1960) is a Tunisian-French actor, film director and screenwriter. He made his directorial debut in 2000 with La Faute à Voltaire, which he also wrote. Known for his naturalistic style, he has been awarded several times at the César Awards and won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes film festival for his film Blue Is the Warmest Colour.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Tunis, Tunisia, Kechiche emigrated with his parents to Nice, France when he was six years old.[2] Passionate about theater, he took drama classes at the Antibes Conservatory. He performed several shows on the Cote d’Azur, most notably a play by Federico Garcia Lorca in 1978 and a play by Eduardo Manet the following year. He was equally as dedicated to directing as he was to performing in theater, he presented The Architect at the Avignon Festival in 1981.

In film, his first acting role was in Abdelkrim Bahioul’s Mint Tea, where he played a young Algerian immigrant who moved to Paris to make his fortune.[3]

André Téchiné hired him in 1987 in The Innocents where he played a gigolo with Sandrine Bonnaire and Jean-Claude Brialy. Thanks to Nouri Bouzid’s film Bezness , he won the best male actor award at the Namur Festival in 1992.[4]

That same year he met his companion, Ghalya Lacroix, with whom he would collaborate with in writing and editing his future projects.  

As an actor, his introduction to most English-speaking audiences was starring as Ashade the taxi driver in the 2005 psychological thriller Sorry, Haters, an "official selection" in both the Toronto International and American Film Institute's film festivals.

He was decorated by the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2005 and in 2008.[5]

Career as a director[edit]

In 2003, he wrote and directed Games of Love and Chance (L’Esquive) with amateur actors and an extremely limited budget. The film follows a group of high school students from the Parisian suburbs who rehearse a Marivaux play for their French class. The film was an honorable success for an author’s film without known actors; it was hailed by critics as one of the biggest French films of the year 2004. The film won four awards at the, 30th César awards in 2005: Best film, best director, and best screenplay. Sara Forestier a lead actress won the César for most promising actress for her role in Games of Love and Chance.

He then directed The Secret of the Grain (La Graine et le mulet) in 2006, which evokes the journey of a worker of Maghrebian origin who wants to establish a restaurant in the port of Sete as an inheritance for his family, but meets French bureaucratic opposition.[6] He presented The Secret of the Grain at the 64th Mostra del Cinema in Venice for which he was awarded the Special Jury Prize. The film also received the FIPRESCI Prize, the Louis Delluc Prize and the César Awards for Best Film and Best Director.[7]

Kechiche’s next film was selected at the Venice Film Festival 2010, titled Black Venus (Vénus Noire) in reference to the “Vénus Hottentote” (Saartjie Baartman). The film follows the life of Sarah Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman from the early 19th century who was exhibited in Europe for her voluptuous figure and objectified by European women. The film’s critical reception was positive, despite only receiving one nomination at the César Awards in 2011.[8]

His 2013 film Blue Is the Warmest Colour won the Palme d'Or and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[9][10][11] Several days later a controversy erupted about Kechiche's work methods; technicians on the film accused him of harassment, unpaid overtime and violations of labour laws.[12] The two main actresses, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, who were also awarded the Palme d'Or, had complained about Kechiche's behavior during the shooting but later, in an extensive interview, claimed that although he was difficult to work with it had been worth it, as he was a great filmmaker.[13] The film also won Best International Independent Film at the British Independent Film Awards in 2013.[14]

Allegation of sexual assault[edit]

In October 2018, Kechiche was accused of sexual assault by an actress, whose name was withheld from official reports.[15] French prosecutors later dropped the probe, citing insufficient evidence. [16]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Poetical Refugee Director, writer
2002 The Magic Box Actor
2003 Games of Love and Chance Director, writer César Award for Best Director
2005 Sorry, Haters Actor
2007 The Secret of the Grain Director, writer César Award for Best Director
Louis Delluc Prize
Lumières Award for Best Director
2010 Black Venus Director, writer
2013 Blue Is the Warmest Colour Director, writer Palme d'Or (shared with the film's actresses, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos)
FIPRESCI Prize (2013 Cannes Film Festival)
Best International Independent Film (2013 British Independent Film Awards)
Louis Delluc Prize
Lumières Award for Best Director
2017 Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno Director, writer, producer
2019 Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo Director, writer, producer


  1. ^ "Blue is the warmest colour team win Palme d'Or at Cannes 2013 - Cannes Film Festival 2013 - RFI". 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Abdellatif Kechiche". IMDb. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  3. ^ Bahloul, Abdelkrim (6 March 1985), Le thé à la menthe (Comedy, Drama), Abdellatif Kechiche, Chafia Boudraa, Krimo Bouguetof, Malek Kateb, Les Entreprises Françaises de Productions, Films A2, Daska Films, retrieved 13 April 2021
  4. ^ "Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film (1992)". IMDb. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  5. ^ Quand Abdellatif Kechiche était décoré par Ben Ali, Oumma.com, 28 May 2013.
  6. ^ Kechiche, Abdellatif (12 December 2007), La graine et le mulet (Drama), Habib Boufares, Hafsia Herzi, Farida Benkhetache, Abdelhamid Aktouche, Pathé Renn Productions, Hirsch, France 2 Cinéma, retrieved 15 April 2021
  7. ^ "The Secret of the Grain". Kaunas International Film Festival. Kaunas International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 19 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  8. ^ Kechiche, Abdellatif (27 October 2010), Vénus noire (Drama, History), Yahima Torres, Andre Jacobs, Olivier Gourmet, Elina Löwensohn, MK2 Productions, France 2 Cinéma, CinéCinéma, retrieved 15 April 2021
  9. ^ "Cannes Film Festival: Awards 2013". Cannes. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Blue is the warmest colour team win Palme d'Or at Cannes 2013". RFI. 26 May 2013. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  11. ^ Richford, Rhonda (26 May 2013). "Cannes: 'The Missing Picture' Wins Un Certain Regard Prize". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  12. ^ Dreyfus, Stéphane (29 May 2013). "Polémique autour du tournage de la «Vie d'Adèle»". La Croix (in French). Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  13. ^ DP/30 @ TIFF '13: Léa Seydoux & Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue Is The Warmest Color. YouTube (13 September 2013). Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
  14. ^ "Nominations 2013". British Independent Film Awards. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  15. ^ Rubin, Alissa J.; Peltier, Elian (31 October 2018). "Acclaimed French Director Is Accused of Sexual Assault". New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  16. ^ "France Drops Sexual Assault Probe Against Director Kechiche". Barron's. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2021.

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