The French actor, filmmaker and screenwriter was on the Piazza Grande last Saturday on the occasion of the world premiere of Sparring by Samuel Jouy and to receive the Excellence Award Moët & Chandon of the 70th Locarno Festival.
He is known to the wider public thanks to his performance in the role of Nino Quincampoix together with Audrey Tautou in Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Mathieu Kassovitz made his debut as an actor at the age of eleven in Au bout du bout du banc (1978). In 1993 the film Métisse, which he wrote, directed and acted in, gained him two nominations at the Césars. In 1994 his performance in Jacques Audiard’s film Regarde les hommes tomber (1994) assured him the win of a César for best male emerging talent.
The talent of this actor and director was once again confirmed by his 1997 performance in Le cinquième élément by Luc Besson and in La haine in 1995 written and directed by him.
He also won a Palme in Cannes for best director and in the following years, Kassovitz continued his career between auteur cinema and mainstream cinema, collaborating with filmmakers of great depth such as Costa-Gavras (Amen, 2002), Steven Spielberg (Munich, 2005) and Michael Haneke (Happy End, 2017).
Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director of the Locarno Festival:
“Mathieu Kassovitz is one of the most talented actors of his generation. He is the heir of that great tradition of performers who manage to achieve credibility in the most diverse roles: in the shoes of a priest as much as in a Mossad agent’s. His all-rounded performance in the shoes of the boxer and father Steve Landry in Sparring, which shortly followed his acting in Happy End, is the umpteenth confirmation that Kassovitz is an actor who knows how to embody the differing souls of a people like few others can.”
Photo credit: Locarno Festival