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Olivier Assayas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Olivier Assayas
Assayas in 2010
Born (1955-01-25) 25 January 1955 (age 69)
Paris, France
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, film critic
Years active1977–present
(m. 1998; div. 2001)
PartnerMia Hansen-Løve (2002–2017)

Olivier Assayas (French: [ɔlivjeasajas]; born 25 January 1955) is a French film director, screenwriter and film critic. Assayas is known for his eclectic filmography, consisting of slow-burning period pieces, psychological thrillers, neo-noirs, and comedies. He has directed French, Spanish, and English-language films with international casts. The son of filmmaker Jacques Rémy, Assayas began his career as a critic for Cahiers du Cinéma. There he wrote about world cinema and its film auteurs, who later influenced his work. Assayas made several short films, and made his feature debut with Disorder in 1986.

He continued directing feature films, with Cold Water (1994) considered a breakthrough film in his career. It was his first film to screen at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section. His followup film, Irma Vep (1996), also screened at Cannes, while Sentimental Destinies (2000), Demonlover (2002), and Clean (2004) all officially competed for the Palme d'Or. In 2006, he contributed a short film to the anthology film Paris, je t'aime (2006). He gained acclaim with his dramas Summer Hours (2008), Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) and Personal Shopper (2016); the latter won him the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director. He also directed the comedy Non-Fiction (2018) and the spy thriller Wasp Network (2019).

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Olivier Assayas on Ingmar Bergman's "absurdly important" PERSONA | TIFF 2018
  • Cold Water Q&A with dir. Olivier Assayas and Richard Linklater
  • OLIVIER ASSAYAS | Master Class | Festival 2012
  • Olivier Assayas Regis Dialogue with Kent Jones
  • Olivier Assayas Filmmaking Advice (First Movie/Day One)


Life and career

Assayas was born in Paris, France, the son of French director/screenwriter Raymond Assayas, alias Jacques Rémy (1911–1981). His father was of Turkish-Jewish origin and had settled in Italy, while his mother, Catherine de Károlyi, was a fashion designer of Protestant Hungarian origin.[1][2][3][4] Assayas started his career in the industry by helping his father. He ghostwrote episodes for TV shows his father was working on when his health failed. In a 2010 interview, Assayas said his main political influences when growing up were Guy Debord and George Orwell.[5] Of the 1968 May uprising to overthrow Charles de Gaulle, Assayas said: "I was defined by the politics of May '68, but for me May '68 was an anti-totalitarian uprising. People seemed to forget that at the occupied Odéon theater, you had crossed flags-black and red, and I was on the side of the black element."[6]

Assayas's biggest hit to date is Irma Vep, starring Maggie Cheung, a tribute both to French director Louis Feuillade and to Hong Kong cinema.

While working at Cahiers du cinéma, Assayas wrote lovingly about European film directors he admires but also about Asian directors. One of his films, HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-hsien, is a documentary about Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien.

Assayas married Cheung in 1998. They divorced in 2001, but their relationship remained amicable, and in 2004 Assayas made his film Clean with her.

He met actress-director Mia Hansen-Løve when Hansen-Løve, 17 at the time, starred in Assayas's 1998 feature Late August, Early September, but they "didn't get together until [she] was 20".[7] They separated in 2017.

In 2009 and 2010, Assayas signed two petitions in support of director Roman Polanski, who had been detained while traveling to a film festival in relation to his 1977 sexual abuse charges, which the first petition argued would undermine the tradition of film festivals as a place for works to be shown "freely and safely", and that arresting filmmakers traveling to neutral countries could open the door "for actions of which no-one can know the effects".[8][9][10][11][12]

Assayas directed and co-wrote the 2010 French television miniseries Carlos, about the life of the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez. Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez won the César Award for Most Promising Actor in 2011 for his performance as Carlos.

In April 2011, it was announced that Assayas would be a member of the jury for the main competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.[13]

Assayas's 2012 film Something in the Air was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.[14] Assayas won the Osella for Best Screenplay at Venice.[15] His 2014 film Clouds of Sils Maria was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[16] Sils Maria won the Louis Delluc Prize and garnered six César Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The film won a César Award for Best Supporting Actress for Kristen Stewart.[17][18] In 2016, Assayas won Best Director Award (Cannes Film Festival) for Personal Shopper, which also starred Stewart.[19]

In June 2017, it was announced that Assayas would preside over the 2017 Locarno Film Festival.[20]

Style and influences

In an interview with Nick Pinkerton of Reverse Shot, Assayas talked about his influences:

That radicality in cinema involved just being outside of the world of modern images, and the key to it was the work of Robert Bresson, who has been by far the most important influence in my work, and intellectually it's been the influence of Guy Debord—basically, you know, it's been Debord-Bresson, Bresson-Debord, the things that've always defined my framework, the way I look at the world.[21]

Assayas participated in the 2012 Sight & Sound directors' poll, listing his ten favorite films as follows: 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Ludwig, A Man Escaped, Mirror, Napoléon, Playtime, The Rules of the Game, The Tree of Life, and Van Gogh.[22]



Year Title Director Screenwriter Distribution
1986 Disorder Yes Yes Forum Distribution
1989 Winter's Child Yes Yes Ciné Classic
1991 Paris Awakens Yes Yes Pan-Européenne
1993 A New Life Yes Yes Pyramide Distribution
1994 Cold Water Yes Yes Pan-Européenne
1996 Irma Vep Yes Yes Haut et Court
1998 Late August, Early September Yes Yes PolyGram Film Distribution
2000 Sentimental Destinies Yes Yes Pathé Distribution
2002 Demonlover Yes Yes SND Films
2004 Clean Yes Yes ARP Sélection
2006 Paris, je t'aime Yes Yes Segment: "Quartier des Enfants Rouges"
La Fabrique de Films
2007 Boarding Gate Yes Yes ARP Sélection
2008 Summer Hours Yes Yes MK2 Films
2012 Something in the Air Yes Yes
2014 Clouds of Sils Maria Yes Yes Les films du losange
2016 Personal Shopper Yes Yes
2018 Non-Fiction Yes Yes Ad Vitam Distribution
2019 Wasp Network Yes Yes Netflix
2024 Suspended Time Yes Yes

As a writer only


Year Title Director Screenwriter Notes
1982 Étoiles et toiles Yes Documentary
1994 Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge... Yes Yes TV series
1997 Cinéma, de notre temps Yes Yes Episode: HHH - Un portrait de Hou Hsiao-hsien
2006 Noise Yes Documentary
2007 To Each His Own Cinema Yes Yes Segment: "Recrudescence"
2007 Stockhausen / Preljocaj Dialogue Yes Documentary
2008 Eldorado Yes Documentary
2010 Carlos Yes Yes TV miniseries
2022 Irma Vep Yes Yes TV miniseries

Short films

Year Title Director Screenwriter Notes
1978 Nuit féline Yes Short film
1979 Copyright Yes Short film
1980 Rectangle - Deux chansons de Jacno Yes Short film
1980 Scopitone Yes Yes Short film
1982 Laissé inachevé à Tokyo Yes Yes Short film
1984 Winston Tong en studio Yes Short documentary
1998 Man Yuk: A Portrait of Maggie Cheung Yes Short documentary

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Project Result
1991 Prix Jean Vigo Paris Awakens Won
2000 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Sentimental Destinies Nominated
2002 Demonlover Nominated
2004 Clean Nominated
2008 Boston Society of Film Critics Best Foreign Language Film Summer Hours Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Foreign Language Film Won
National Society of Film Critics Award Best Foreign Language Film Won
New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Foreign Language Film Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Foreign Language Film Won
2010 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series Carlos Nominated
César Award Best Director Nominated
European Film Award Best Director Nominated
Lumières Award Best Film Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Director Won
Globes de Cristal Award Best Television Film or Television Series Won
2012 Venice International Film Festival Golden Osella for Best Original Screenplay Something in the Air Won
Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award Won
Golden Lion Nominated
2014 Louis Delluc Prize Clouds of Sils Maria Won
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Nominated
César Award Best Film Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
2016 Cannes Film Festival Best Director Personal Shopper Won
2016 Zurich Film Festival A Tribute To... Award Lifetime Achievement Won


  1. ^ "Olivier Assayas Interview". Outside In Tokyo.
  2. ^ Chouaki, Yasmine (1 June 2012). "2. Michka Assayas (rediffusion)". RFI. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Michka Assayas Ecrivain et journaliste français". Evene. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Olivier Assayas • Great Director profile • Senses of Cinema".
  5. ^ White, Rob "Interview with Olivier Assayas" pages 74-77 from Film Quarterly, Volume 64, Issue # 2, Winter 2010 page 75.
  6. ^ White, Rob "Interview with Olivier Assayas" pages 74-77 from Film Quarterly, Volume 64, Issue # 2, Winter 2010 page 77.
  7. ^ Morris, Octavia (27 June 2010). "The film that changed my life: Mia Hansen-Løve". London. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Le cinéma soutient Roman Polanski / Petition for Roman Polanski - SACD". 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  9. ^ Shoard, Catherine; Agencies (29 September 2009). "Release Polanski, demands petition by film industry luminaries". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Pétition des nominés à Cannes en faveur de Roman Polanski". La Règle du jeu (in French). 11 May 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  11. ^ Lévy, Bernard-Henri (11 May 2010). "Polanski Petition: A Gesture of Solidarity and an Appeal to Swiss Justice". HuffPost. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  12. ^ "French directors sign Polanski petition at Cannes". Daily Express. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  13. ^ "The Jury of the 64th Festival de Cannes". Cannes. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Venezia 69". labiennale. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Official Awards of the 69th Venice Film Festival". labiennale. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  16. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  17. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (16 December 2014). "Olivier Assayas' 'Sils Maria' Wins Louis Delluc Prize".
  18. ^ César Award for Best Supporting Actress
  19. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (22 May 2016). "Ken Loach's 'I, Daniel Blake' Takes Palme D'Or; Director Joins Double-Winners Club – Cannes".
  20. ^ "Olivier Assayas to Preside Over Locarn Film Festival". 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  21. ^ Pinkerton, Nick. "Another interview with Olivier Assayas". Reverse Shot.
  22. ^ "Olivier Assayas". BFI. Archived from the original on 23 February 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2022.

Further reading

  • Olivier Assayas, A Post-May Adolescence. Letter to Alice Debord, FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen Vol. 17, Vienna: SYNEMA - Gesellschaft für Film und Medien, 2012, ISBN 978-3-901644-44-3
  • Kent Jones (Ed.), Olivier Assayas, FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen Vol. 16, Vienna: SYNEMA - Gesellschaft für Film und Medien, 2012, ISBN 978-3-901644-43-6

External links

This page was last edited on 17 February 2024, at 23:35
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