François Ozon

Exploration of human sexuality and satirical wit made François Ozon an internationally acclaimed filmmaker. With films such as "8 femmes" (2002), "Swimming Pool" (2003), and "Jeune & jolie" ("Young & Beautiful") (2013), Ozon was one of the most important French film directors of the 21st century French cinema. The son of René and Anne-Marie Ozon, he was born on November 15, 1967 in Paris, France. Ozon studied film at one of the best international film schools in the world, La Fémis. His early body of work consisted almost entirely of short films. One of them, "Photo de famille" (1988), was a satirical black comedy where he cast himself as the son who murdered his family -- played by his own relatives -- and afterward sat them down for a family portrait in their living room. But it was the short film "Une robe d'été" ("A Summer Dress") (1996) that drew attention from French cinemagoers. A tale that openly explored homosexuality, "Une robe d'été" was nominated for Best Short Film at the 1997 César Awards. In 1998, Ozon made his feature film directorial debut in "Sitcom." The satirical film, which he also wrote, explored the degenerative decline of the suburban family. One of Ozon's next films was "Gouttes d'eau sur pierres brûlantes" ("Water Drops on Burning Rocks") (2000), an adaptation of a play by German playwright Rainer Fassbinder that starred French actress Ludivine Sagnier, who would become one of Ozon's frequent collaborators. The 2000 drama "Sous le sable" ("Under the Sand"), which starred English veteran Charlotte Rampling, earned Ozon's first César Award nomination for Best Film and Best Director. But Ozon's big break was his 2002 dark comedy "8 femmes." With an impressive cast that featured French cinema icons Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert and Emmanuelle Béart, "8 femmes" was a commercial and critical hit, with numerous nominations from several international film festivals and further Best Film and Best Director nominations from the César Awards. In the following year, Ozon teamed up with both Rampling and Sagnier to film "Swimming Pool" (2003). The French-British thriller focused on a crime novelist who spent her vacation in a summer home with her publisher's promiscuous daughter. "Swimming Pool" was overwhelmingly received positively by critics and was up for contention for the Palme d'Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Ozon continued to direct films that made splashes at international film festivals such as "5x2" ("Five Times Two") (2004) and "Le temps qui reste" ("Time to Leave" (2005). In 2007, Ozon directed his first fully English-language production, "Angel," with a cast that included Rampling, Michael Fassbender and Sam Neill. Ozon directed French cinema icon Gerard Depardieu in the comedy "Potiche" (2010), which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2012 BAFTA Awards. In 2013, Ozon once again made headlines at the year's Cannes International Film Festival for his widely discussed film "Jeune & jolie," which starred up-and-coming young actress Marine Vacth as a teenager who becomes a prostitute seemingly on a whim.