Biography: Mathieu Kassovitz is the son of veteran French film director Peter Kassovitz, who appears in Métisse (Café au lait – 1993) as an inarticulate college professor. Mathieu began acting in film at an early age, appearing in his father’s Au bout du bout du banc in 1978 and in Jean-Loup Hubert’s L’Année prochaine… si tout va bien in 1981. Eager to direct as well as act, Kassovitz made his first short film, Fierrot le pou, in 1990. Financed by Lazennec Productions, it won awards at several film festivals and was theatrically released as an accompaniment to Christian Vincent’s feature La Discrète. Kassovitz’s second short, Cauchemar blanc (1991), was also made for Lazennec and accompanied Henri Herré’s Août in the theaters. Cauchemar blanc won the Prix Perspecitives at the Cannes Film Festival and was broadcast on French television. He wrote and directed La Haine (Hate – 1995), a hugely controversial film in France 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. He later directed The Crimson Rivers (2000), a police detective thriller starring Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel, another massive commercial success in France, and Gothika (2003), a fantasy thriller with Halle Berry and Penélope Cruz that he did to earn the money he needed to develop a far more personal project Babylon A.D. (2008), the adaptation of one of Maurice Dantec’s books. Kassovitz established the film production firm MNP Entreprise in 2000. In 2011, Kassovitz directed Rebellion (L’Ordre et la Morale), a war film based on a true story of French commandos who clashed with tribes in New Caledonia, the Melanesian territory of France. Kassovitz is also famous for his career as an actor. He is best known outside France for his acting role as Nino Quincampoix in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amélie. Among many other credits, 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.
Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
La Haine [Hate] (1997).
Fierrot le pou (1990);
Cauchemar blanc (1991);
Métisse [Café au lait] (1993);
La Haine [Hate] (1995);
Lumière sur un massacre – En forêt (1996);
The Crimson Rivers (2000);
Babylon A.D. (2008);
Rebellion [L’Ordre et la Morale] (2011).