For over thirty years, Benoit Jacquot has been the author of an unclassifiable work, sometimes experimental and minimalist, sometimes classical or academic, but always exciting. The filmmaker has been obsessed with the feeling of love and psychoanalysis, but also with literature, since he already has a dozen adaptations (novels, plays and operas) to his credit: Dostoevsky, Kafka, Blanchot, Henry James, Yukio Mishima, Marivaux, Corneille, Gide, Puccini, JD Salinger, Benjamin Constant, Pascal Quignard, Chantal Thomas, or more recently Octave Mirbeau.
Benoit Jacquot began his film career in 1965 as assistant to Bernard Borderie (on one of the Angélique series’ film), to Marguerite Duras (on the movies Nathalie Granger and India Song), but also to Marcel Carné and Roger Vadim. Then, during the seventies, he made several documentaries on psychoanalysis for television (Jacques Lacan psychoanalysis I and II). In 1975, he signed his first feature film, L’assassin musicien, based on a novel by Dostoyevsky, where the refined staging and acting surprised the critics. A « Bressonnien » style which was confirmed by his second film, Closet children (inspired by the thinking of Jacques Lacan) and by the one after, The Wings of the Dove in 1981, an ambitious adaptation of the work of Henry James. Nine years later, Jacquot signed with La Désenchantée a masterpiece in which the debutante Judith Godrèche radiates through the screen. This was the beginning of an international recognition for the filmmaker. In 1995, Jacquot offered Virginie Ledoyen one of her finest roles with A Single Girl, for which she was nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress. He then directed Le Septième Ciel and L’école de la chair (from Yukio Mishima). The latter, with Isabelle Huppert, one of his favorite actresses, was presented in the official selection at Cannes in 1998.
The feeling of love is his favorite subject, but Jacquot who became one of the most prolific authors of French cinema, shows a rare eclecticism. After a detour to the theater with The False Servant inspired by Marivaux, he made a period film on Sade’s life after Benjamin Constant (2000), before choosing Isabelle Adjani in 2002 for Adolphe adapted from the novel by Serge Bramly but also for Puccini's opera: La Tosca. In 2004, Jacquot surprised everyone once again by shooting in black and white Right Now, after the novel by Elisabeth Fanger – the story of a runaway played by Isild Le Besco. He then took her to India for The Untouchable, in competition at Venice in 2006 (where he had already been selected in 1997 for the Le Septième Ciel and in 1999 with No Scandal), and shot with her again in 2010 for Deep in the Woods. Meanwhile, he adapted Villa Amalia, the novel by Pascal Quignard, which marks his reunion with Isabelle Huppert (2009). With Farewell my Queen, he reunited in 2012 Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux and Virginie Ledoyen in a reinterpretation of the French Revolution, which was selected in competition at the Berlin Festival and received the Louis Delluc Prize and three Cesar. His next film, 3 Hearts, bringing together Charlotte Gainsbourg, Benoit Poolevorde, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, is his fourth feature film to be selected in the official selection at Venice. Last year, his film Diary of a Chambermaid, adaptation of the novel by Octave Mirbeau with Léa Seydoux in the lead role, was selected in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.