Diane Kurys

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Diane Kurys
Born (1948-12-03) 3 December 1948 (age 74)
Lyon, Rhône, France
Occupation(s) Film director, actress, screenwriter, producer
Years active1966present
Spouse Alexandre Arcady
Children Sacha Sperling

Diane Kurys (French:  [djan kyʁis] ; born 3 December 1948) is a French director, producer, filmmaker and actress. Several of her films as director are semi-autobiographical.


Personal life

Kurys was born in Lyon, Rhône, France, the younger of two daughters. She is a daughter of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants, Lena and Michel. Diane Kurys and her older sister spent their early years in Lyon. [1] Like many of her film's characters, she had a difficult relationship with her parents, and her traumatic childhood became a subject in many of her films. [2] Their parents met and got married at Camp de Rivesaltes in 1942, separating in 1954. [3] Their divorce deeply marked and affected Diane, and would become a real source of inspiration for several of her films; Kurys stated that she made films about them because she “wanted to see them back together again.” [3]  It was after this event that her mom decided to move with her two daughters to Paris, where she ran a woman’s fashion boutique, while her dad stayed in Lyon where he ran a men's clothing store. She lived with her mother after their divorce in 1954, at one point running away to join her father at age sixteen. [4]

In her adolescence, she was radicalized in the spirit of May of '68, but became somewhat disillusioned in the aftermath, calling it a "revolution bourgeois" in an interview with Jean-Luc Wachthausen. [5] She first met her partner and fellow filmmaker Alexandre Arcady when she was fifteen years old, in 1964, and went to live in Israel in a kibbutz near the Lebanese border. [6] They have been a couple since the 1960s and have two production companies together. Their son Yasha, born in 1991, [7] is an author writing under the name Sacha Sperling.

Acting career

As a student at the Jules Ferry high school, she studied modern literature at the Sorbonne before becoming a teacher and then a theatre actress in the 1970s, joining the Madeleine Renaud: Jean-Louis Barrault's company with Antoine Bourseiller and Ariane Mnouchkine at La Cartoucherie or Cafe de la Gare. [3]

After the student revolt in May 1967, Kurys left University and along with Arcady began her involvement in theatre; initially, with Kurys as an actor, and Alexandre as both an actor and director. [8] [3] She acted in theatre, film, and television for eight years. Kurys mentions how she loved the environment of acting but she was not happy doing it as she couldn’t express herself and was often seen as rebellious. She felt unable to express herself under "the director or any kind of authority or control." [9] [10] This led to her transitioning into writing and film making.

Film directing

In 1975, she worked with Philippe Adrien to adapt Lanford Wilson's Hôtel Baltimore, which she performed at the Espace Cardin. [6] Phillipe Adrien had taught Diane all the basics of filming within half an hour, and she decided to film things in the way she sees them. The following year, she began writing an autobiographical novel in 1977 with a government grant which became the screenplay for the film Diabolo Menthe (Peppermint Soda). Set in 1963, it follows a girl named Anne losing her childhood innocence. It explores her life as a child of divorced parents and her relationship with her sister, to whom she dedicated the movie. In an interview, Kurys said her inspiration came from the autobiographical genre: "from myself, my own life, my own experience". [11] Diane Kurys' talent for portraying her characters' feelings accurately and realistically made the film a great critical and public success.

Cocktail Molotov (1980) was her next film. Featuring François Cluzet, Élise Caron and Philippe Lebas, highlighting the Paris student movement in May 1968 through the point of view of three children: Anne, Frank, and Bruno. [12]

In Coup de foudre (1983) (fr. Entre Nous ), the issue of divorce is revisited, with Isabelle Huppert playing the heroine's mother as she leaves her father and goes to Paris with her friend and children. The film also stars Miou-Miou, Isabelle Huppert, Guy Marchand, and Jean-Pierre Bacri. In this film, inspired by Diane Kurys' family memories, she makes a point of honoring the emotional manners of the 1940s and 1950s. The film is well known, winning numerous awards in festivals and was nominated in 1984 for a Cesar for best foreign film and best original screenplay. [13]

For the opening of the 40th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Diane Kurys features Peter Coyote, Greta Scacchi, Claudia Cardinale, Jamie Lee Curtis and Vincent Lindon in A Man in Love (1987 film), (fr. Une Homme Amoureux). [14] At the film's conclusion, Scacchi's character gives up acting to become a writer; echoing Kurys's own transition in life. [15] This was Diane's first english-language production as well as the first movie that was more present to its time period in the 1950 as it focused on the events leading up to the suicide of Italian writer, Cesare Pavese. [16]

The year 1989 marked a turning point in Diane Kurys' career C'est la vie (fr. La Baule-les-Pins) (1990) which featured Nathalie Baye, Richard Berry, Vincent Lindon, Zabou, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Valéria Bruni Tedeschi and Emmanuelle Boidron. The film returned to her alter-ego leading character's adolescent years and was seen as a turning point in Diane Kurys' career.

Two years later, Love After Love (1992) (fr. Après l'amour) was debuted and featured Isabelle Huppert, Bernard Giraudeau, Lio, and Hippolyte Girardot, followed by Six Days, Six Nights (fr. À la folie ) (1994) which examined the relationship between two adult sisters starring Anne Parillaud, Béatrice Dalle and Patrick Aurignac.

In 1998, she also directed the period film Children of the Century (Les Enfants du siècle 1999) with Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magime which tells the story of the meeting between George Sand and Alfred de Musset. An exhibition on the film was held at the Museum of Romantic Life in 1999.

Her ninth film was released in 2003: Je reste! with Sophie Marceau, Charles Berling and Vincent Pérez.

The Anniversary (fr. L'anniversaire) was released in 2005. It features Lambert Wilson, Pierre Palmade, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Antoine Duléry, Michèle Laroque, Zoé Félix, Philippe Bas.

Four years later, in 2008, the biopic about Françoise Sagan called Sagan was released. Starring Sylvie Testud, Denis Podalydès, Pierre Palmade, Jeanne Balibar, Guillaume Gallienne, and Arielle Dombasle.

Her latest film is Pour une femme , released in 2013, was shot in Lyon during the summer of 2012 which stars Benoît Magimel, Mélanie Thierry and Nicolas Duvauchelle Clotilde Hesme, Julie Ferrier, Sylvie Testud and Denis Podalydès. [17] The film is her take on an affair as a result of her parents' messy marriage and divorce. In this case focusing on her fathers point of view while Entre Nous, otherwise known as, Coup de foudre, is her mother's take on the subject. [3] The film won in CoLCoA French Film Festival in 2014. [18]

In 2016, she produced and directed her thirteenth film, adapted from Sylvie Testud's book C'est le métier qui rentre (Arrete ton cinema) (published by Fayard), a comedy that tells the story of the setbacks of a famous actress to whom two extravagant producers offer to make a film. The cast includes Josiane Balasko, Zabou Breitman, Sylvie Testud, Fred Testot, François Xavier Demaison, Claire Keim, Virginie Hocq, Hélène de Fougerolles and Florence Thomassin.

In 2018, it is the release of the film My mother is crazy , with Fanny Ardant, Vianney, Patrick Chesnais and Arielle Dombasle. Written by Sacha Sperling and Pietro Caracciolo, the film tells the story of a slightly crazy mother's reunion with her slightly too wise son during a trip to Rotterdam.

Critical reception

Although Kurys' work as a filmmaker in the 1980s helped bring women's filmmaking into the mainstream of its time, her commercial successes have played a part in keeping her from being granted auteur status by many critics. [19] Her harsher critics have called her films conventional, polished, and not challenging to cinema's status quo. [20] In addition, her ambivalence toward feminism and dislike of the "woman director" or "women's cinema" label has played a part in her lack of feminist film study scholarship. [21] [19]

In a section on Kurys for French Film: texts and contexts [22] and the first book-length study of Kurys work, film scholar Carrie Tarr argues that her work is firmly within the auteurist tradition, "a coherent body of work with a recognizable style". [23] Kurys' use of her own life story, her inclusion of a stand-in for herself in most films, the recurring character types and situations from her memories and concerns in her present, all create a body of work specifically centered on a unique female voice. Tarr theorizes that Kurys' signature contains two voices, [24] one which reflect her rebellion against the male-centric world she meant to escape by turning from acting to filmmaking, and the other which collaborates with the patriarchal structure she still must operate within to be successful. [25]

Production companies

Alexandre Films was formed in 1977 with Alexandre Arcady before the release of Peppermint Soda . The company co-produced her first six films as well as a number of Arcady's, whose name it bears. [26] The pair formed New Light Films in 1994, [27] which produces films in both French and English. [28]

Selected filmography


1977 Peppermint Soda (Diabolo Menthe)also screenwriter and co-producer
1980 Cocktail Molotov also co-screenwriter, co-adapter, and co-dialogist
1983 Entre Nous a.k.a. Coup de foudrealso screenwriter, co-adapter, and dialogist [29]
nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 56th Academy Awards
1987 A Man in Love (Un Homme Amoreux)also co-screenwriter, co-dialogist, and co-producer
1990 C'est la vie (La Baule-les-Pins) also co-screenwriter, co-dialogist, and co-producer
1992 Love After Love (Apres l'amour)also co-screenwriter, co-dialogist, and co-producer
1994 À la folie aka Six Days, Six Nightsalso co-screenwriter, co-dialogist
1999 The Children of the Century aka Les Enfants du sièclealso co-screenwriter, co-dialogist, and co-producer
2003 I'm Staying! a.k.a. Je Reste!also co-screenwriter, co-dialogist
2005L'anniversairealso co-screenwriter, co-dialogist, and co-producer
2008 Sagan also screenwriter, dialogist, and co-producer
2013 Pour une femme also screenwriter
2016 Arrête ton cinéma
2018My Mother is Crazy (Ma Mere est Folle)


1972Les petits enfants d'AttilaHerselfdirected by Jean-Pierre Bastid fr
Le bar de la fourche Christiedirected by Alain Levent
What a Flash!Anniedirected by Jean-Michel Barjol fr
1973Elle court, elle court la banlieueFriend of Jean-Pauldirected by Gérard Pirès
Poil de carotte Agathedirected by Henri Garziani fr
1974Les Grands Détectives (TV series) fr the pretty blonde"Rendez-vous dans les ténèbres" directed by Jean Vautrin
1975Les Brigades du Tigre (TV series) fr Catherine"Le défi" Season 2, episode 4
Messieurs les Jurés (TV series) fr Sylvie Radet"L'affaire Lambert"
Le Père AmablePhémieTV movie based on short story by Guy de Maupassant
La MémoireThe girlshort film directed by Gébé fr as Georges Blondeaux
1976 F comme Fairbanks Annickdirected by Maurice Dugowson
Hôtel BaltimoreThe girlTV movie directed by Alexandre Arcady

Lanford Wilson's play adapted by Kurys and Philippe Adrien

Fellini's Casanova Madame Charpillondirected by Federico Fellini
1977Commissaire Moulin de Klaus Biedermann (TV series) fr directed by Jacques Trébouta
Les Cinq Dernières Minutes Fr Juliennedirected by Guy Lessertisseur




  1. Tarr 1999, p. 12.
  2. Tarr 1999, pg. 10.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Filmmaker Plumbs Her Painful Family Secrets in 'For a Woman'". Jewish Journal. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  4. Tarr 1999, pg. 12.
  5. qtd. in Tarr 1999 pg. 40.
  6. 1 2 Tarr 1999, pg. 12
  7. Tarr 1999, p. 13.
  8. Moriel, Lionel (1 December 2000). "Filming the Present Past". Film-Philosophy. 4 (1). doi:10.3366/film.2000.0014.
  9. Gordon, 1987.
  10. "Diane Kurys by Bette Gordon - BOMB Magazine". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  11. "Interview: Diane Kurys on the Refreshing Restoration of the Coming-of-Age Classic "Peppermint Soda"". The Moveable Fest. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  12. Canby, Vincent (26 April 1981). "'COCKTAIL MOLOTOV,' COMEDY". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  13. Insdorf, Annette (29 January 1984). "CHILDHOOD MEMORIES SHAPE DIANE KURYS'S 'ENTRE NOUS'". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  14. Moriel, Lionel (29 March 2018). "Filming the Present Past". Film-Philosophy. 4. doi:10.3366/film.2000.0014.
  15. Gordon 1987.
  16. LLC, New York Media (10 August 1987). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC.
  17. ""I Think I Was Born a Storyteller": An Interview with Diane Kurys". frenchculture.org. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  18. "Diane Kurys". en.unifrance.org. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  19. 1 2 Austin 2008, pg. 104.
  20. Foster 1995, pg. 205.
  21. Foster 1995, pg. xiv.
  22. Tarr 2000, pgs. 240-252.
  23. Tarr 2000, pg. 240.
  24. Tarr 1999, pg. 140.
  25. Tarr 1999, pgs. 140-148.
  26. Tarr 1999, pg. 141.
  27. Tarr 1999, pg. 14.
  28. "Alexandre Films/New Light Films". Alexandre Films/New Light Films. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  29. Rège 2010, pg. 577.
  30. Rège 2010, p. 576.

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