Agnès Jaoui (born 19 October 1964) is a French actress, screenwriter, film director and singer.
Jaoui has won six César Awards, three Lumières Awards, and a Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She has received numerous other awards and nominations, including a nomination for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Jaoui was born in Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, and is of Tunisian Jewish descent. She is the daughter of Hubert Jaoui and Gyza Jaoui, who are both writers. They moved to Paris when she was 8 years old. She started theatre when she was in high school at the Lycée Henri-IV in Paris. She entered the Cours Florent when she was 15. Patrice Chéreau, director of the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre where she began attending drama classes in 1984, gave her a role in the film Hôtel de France in 1987. That same year, she appeared in Harold Pinter's L'anniversaire with Jean-Pierre Bacri, who later became a faithful colleague and companion.
Jaoui and Bacri wrote the play Cuisine et dépendances, which was adapted onscreen in 1992 by Philippe Muyl. In 1993, director Alain Resnais asked them to write an adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's 8-part play Intimate Exchanges, which became the 2-part film Smoking/No Smoking. This ironic diptych about free will and destiny won the César Award for Best Writing in 1994. In 1996, they came to know greater success with Cédric Klapisch's adaptation of their play Family Resemblances (Un air de famille), which showed their ability to observe and depict everyday life, and to criticize the social norms through bitter and corrosive humor. Once again, they won the César Award for Best Writing in 1997 and the same year collaborated again with Resnais on Same Old Song (On connaît la chanson), which they wrote but also interpreted: together, they won their third César Award for Best Writing, and Jaoui her first César Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Jaoui directed her first feature film, The Taste of Others (Le Goût des autres, 2000, written with Bacri), which questions social-cultural identities. The film was a huge success in France and attracted 4 million spectators. It also won 4 César Awards in 2001 including Best Film and Best Writing, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2004, Jaoui's second film as a director, Look at Me (Comme une image), co-written with Bacri, was selected for the Cannes Festival and won the prize for Best Screenplay. She starred in the last Richard Dembo's film, La maison de Nina (2005) and then focused on music and released her album of Latin songs, Canta (2006). She returned to cinema in 2008 with Let's Talk About the Rain (Parlez-moi de la pluie), with French humorist Jamel Debbouze in a different role from what he was used to.
In 2012, Jaoui directed her latest film to date, Under the Rainbow (Au bout du conte), also co-written with Bacri. She revisits several fairy tales such as Cinderella, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood. It received acclaim from critics and audiences for originality and humor in the writing and dialogue. ...
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