Jonathan Glazer

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Jonathan Glazer
Under The Skin - Jonathan Glazer (9723034506) (cropped).jpg
Glazer in September 2013
Born (1965-03-26) 26 March 1965 (age 58)
EducationNottingham Trent University (BA)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
Years active1993–present
Notable work
PartnerRachel Penfold

Jonathan Glazer (born 26 March 1965)[2] is an English film director and screenwriter. Born in London, Glazer began his career in theatre before transitioning into film. Over the course of a career spanning nearly three decades, Glazer's directing work includes feature films, short films, music videos, and commercials.

Glazer has been nominated for two BAFTA Awards and twice for both the Golden Lion and the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. He also received the nomination for the MTV Video Music Award for Best Direction twice, consecutively for his work on Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" and Radiohead's "Karma Police". His work is often characterized by depictions of flawed and desperate characters, explorations of themes such as alienation and loneliness, a bold visual style that utilizes an omniscient perspective, and dramatic use of music. His 2013 film Under the Skin received numerous accolades and awards and was included in BBC's 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century list.

Early life[edit]

Jonathan Glazer was born into a Jewish family in London and attended school in Hadley, a district of the Borough of Barnet. His father was a cinephile with whom he frequently watched David Lean movies.[3] After graduating from college with an emphasis in theatre design from Nottingham Trent University, Glazer began his career directing theatre and making film and television trailers, including award-winning work for the BBC.


In 1993, Glazer wrote and directed three short films of his own ("Mad", "Pool", and "Commission"), and joined Academy Commercials, a production company based in Central London. He has directed acclaimed campaigns for Guinness (Dreamer, Swimblack, and Surfer) and Stella Artois (Devil's Island). Since the mid-1990s he has directed a number of significant music videos, and was named MTV Director of the Year 1997. He named his video for Radiohead's 1996 single "Street Spirit" as a "turning point" in his work: "I knew when I finished that, because [Radiohead] found their own voices as an artist, at that point, I felt like I got close to whatever mine was, and I felt confident that I could do things that emoted, that had some kind of poetic as well as prosaic value. That for me was a key moment."[4]

In 2000, he directed his first feature, the critically acclaimed British gangster film Sexy Beast, starring Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley, the latter of whom received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.[5] In 2004, he directed his second feature film Birth, starring Nicole Kidman in the United States.

In 2001, Glazer directed the "Odyssey" spot for Levi Strauss Jeans.[6][7] In 2006, he directed the second Sony BRAVIA TV advertisement, which took 10 days and 250 people to film. It was filmed at an estate in Glasgow, and featured paint exploding all over the tower blocks.[8] Later the same year he was commissioned to make a television advert for the new Motorola Red phone. The advertisement, showing two naked black bodies emerging from a lump of flesh rotating on a potter's wheel, was due to air in September 2006 but was shelved by Motorola. The advertisement was to benefit several charities in Africa.

In 2013, he directed Under the Skin, a loose adaptation of Michel Faber's science fiction novel of the same name starring Scarlett Johansson. The film premiered at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival and received a theatrical release in 2014, garnering critical acclaim.[9] The film was named the best film of 2014 by numerous critics and publications,[10] was included in many best-of-the-decade lists, and ranked 61st on the BBC's 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century list, an international poll of 177 top critics.[11] Under the Skin is the subject of a 2019 non-fiction book entitled Alien in the Mirror: Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Glazer and Under the Skin by author Maureen Foster, an in-depth analysis of the film scene-by-scene and behind-the-scenes.[12]

In October 2019 it was reported that Glazer was working on a new feature film based loosely on Martin Amis’s novel The Zone of Interest, to be co-produced and distributed in the US by A24.[13]


Feature films[edit]

Short films[edit]

  • The Fall (2019)
  • Strasbourg 1518 (2020)
  • First Light: Alexander McQueen (2020)

Music videos[edit]




  1. ^ "Jonathan Glazer interview: 'It felt as if we were under siege'". 12 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Glazer, Jonathan 1965 -". BFI screenonline. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  3. ^ Leigh, Danny (6 March 2014). "Under the Skin: why did this chilling masterpiece take a decade?". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  4. ^ Anthony Kaufman (12 June 2001). "Shooting the "Beast"; Jonathan Glazer Tames the Gangster Genre". indieWIRE. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  5. ^ "Sexy Beast". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 August 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Commercials at Framestore CFC: Levi "Odyssey"". Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2006.
  7. ^ "Levis Engineered Jeans in Odyssey". The Inspiration Room. December 2005.
  8. ^ "Bravia Advert – Just another WordPress site". Archived from the original on 19 October 2006.
  9. ^ McClintock, Pamela (3 November 2010). "Scarlett Johansson gets 'Under the Skin'". Variety. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  10. ^ "The Best Movies of the Decade (2010-19), According to Film Critics". Metacritic. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  11. ^ "The 21st Century's 100 greatest films". 18 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Alien in the Mirror – McFarland". Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  13. ^ Sharf, Zack (23 October 2019). "Seven Years After 'Under the Skin,' Jonathan Glazer Ready to Film Next Movie With A24". IndieWire. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  14. ^ Deans, Jason (2 December 2004). "Kingsley reprises Sexy Beast role for Band Aid ads". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Jonathan Glazer's Motorola Red ad faces chop". Campaign. London. 16 November 2006. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  16. ^ New Sony 3D TV advert featuring Kaka on YouTube
  17. ^ Sloan, Pat (12 November 2010). "Volkswagen and DDB UK launch epic new Polo campaign – Jonathan Glazer directs stunning "Last Tango in Compton"" (Press release). London: DDB UK. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  18. ^ Volkswagen – 'Last Tango in Compton' on YouTube
  19. ^ The Audi RS 6 Avant TV commercial on YouTube
  20. ^ "Audi 'The Ring' (Director's Cut) by Jonathan Glazer". Academy Films. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  21. ^ Kevin Jagernauth (30 September 2015). "Watch: Channel 4's Surreal And Beautiful New Brand Identi - The Playlist". The Playlist.

External links[edit]