Nicolas Philibert

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Nicolas Philibert
Viennale 2010.10.30 Nicolas Philibert.jpg
Born (1951-01-10) 10 January 1951 (age 68)
OccupationFilm director, actor
Years active1978-present

Nicolas Philibert (French: [filibɛʁ]; born 10 January 1951) is a French film director and actor.


Philibert's father was a film lecturer and he attended his talks in his youth. This encouraged him to embark on a film career. He started this with René Allio (1970),[1] as a trainee on Les Camisards [2] as an assistant on Rude Journée pour la reine (1973)[3] and assistant-director on Moi, Pierre Rivière, ayant égorgé ma mère, ma sœur et mon frère... (1975).[4][5]

In 1978 he co-directed with Gérard Mordillat a feature documentary His Master's Voice,[6][7] in which a dozen bosses of big industrial groups discuss power, leadership, hierarchies and the role of unions.

Between 1985 and 1987, he made several films about mountains and adventure for TV, then turned to making feature-length documentaries for theatrical distribution: La Ville Louvre (1990), Le Pays des sourds (1992),[8] Un animal, des animaux (1995),[9] La Moindre des choses (1996) [10] - at the psychiatric clinic of La Borde, as well as an experimental film with the pupils of the theatre school Théâtre national de Strasbourg, Qui sait? (1998).

In 2001, Nicolas Philibert made Être et avoir, about daily life in a single class school on a small village in the Auvergne. It won the Prix Louis Delluc 2002, and became a box office and critical success in France and internationally. The film was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.[11]

With Retour en Normandie (2007),[12] he revisited the traces of a previous films, made thirty years earlier by René Allio, with local peasants playing the lead roles. With Nénette (2010),[13] made at the Ménagerie du Jardin des plantes in Paris, he produced an intimated portrait of the most famous of its inhabitants a female orang-utang, Nénette, held in captivity for 36 years.

La Maison de la radio (2013),[14] takes us into the heart of the French Radio headquarters in Paris, finding out who inhabits the place and discovering the mysteries of its long corridors.

Over the last fifteen years there have been more than 120 retrospectives or 'homages' to Philibert organised internationally including the British Film Institute (London) and the Museum of Modern Art (New York).[15][16]

He was one of the directors invited to nominate his favourite films in the British Film Institute's 2012 poll.[17]

He explains, in French, his motivations, his influences (including Agnés Varda) and the history of his career as a documentary film maker, especially the 'impermeable' frontiers between documentary and drama in an interview recorded in April 2012.[18]



  1. ^ "René Allio at Allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  2. ^ "Les Camisards on allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  3. ^ "Rude Journée on Allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  4. ^ "Moi Pierre Rivière on allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  5. ^ "Allocine on Philbert". Allocine.
  6. ^ "Gérard Mordillat on Allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  7. ^ "His Master's Voice (La Voix de son maitre) on allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  8. ^ "Le pays des sourds (Land of the deaf) on allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  9. ^ "Un animal, des animaux (One animal, some animals) on Allocine". Allocine. allocine.
  10. ^ "Moindre des choses on IMDB". IMDB. IMDB.
  11. ^ "Festival de Cannes: To Be and to Have". Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Retour en Normandie (Return to Normandy) on Allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  13. ^ "Nénette on Allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  14. ^ "La Maison de la radio on Allocine". Allocine. Allocine.
  15. ^ "Philibert at MOMA". MOMA website. MOMA.
  16. ^ "Sabzian retrospective". Sabzian.
  17. ^ "2012 BFI Greatest Film poll". British Film Institute. British Film Institute.
  18. ^ "Entretien avec Nicolas Philibert, réalisateur de "La nuit tombe sur la ménagerie"". Utube. Utube. April 2012.

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