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Jaco Van Dormael

Jaco Van Dormael

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 9, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Belgium Profession: director, screenwriter, clown, theater producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A former circus clown and children's theater producer, Jaco Van Dormael turned to filmmaking in the early 1980s, writing and directing a series of internationally award-winning shorts, documentaries and promotional films. In 1991, he made his feature film debut with the highly original "Toto le Heroes/Toto the Hero" (1991), a poignant, impressionistic chronicle that used a child's sensibilities and feelings to trace the life of an angry, disappointed man from birth to death and beyond. The film won the Camera d'Or prize for best first film at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. He then solidified his position as an important director with "Le Huitieme jour/The Eighth Day" (1996), starring Daniel Auteuil as a harried executive whose life is changed through his encounter with a man with Downs Syndrome.Of Belgian descent, Van Dormael was raised in Germany until age seven, when his family returned to Belgium. At his birth, the future filmmaker had nearly been strangled by the umbilical cord and received an insufficient supply of oxygen. It was feared that he may end up mentally impaired. This trauma perhaps accounts for the recurring themes in his films, which explore the worlds of those who are considered...

A former circus clown and children's theater producer, Jaco Van Dormael turned to filmmaking in the early 1980s, writing and directing a series of internationally award-winning shorts, documentaries and promotional films. In 1991, he made his feature film debut with the highly original "Toto le Heroes/Toto the Hero" (1991), a poignant, impressionistic chronicle that used a child's sensibilities and feelings to trace the life of an angry, disappointed man from birth to death and beyond. The film won the Camera d'Or prize for best first film at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. He then solidified his position as an important director with "Le Huitieme jour/The Eighth Day" (1996), starring Daniel Auteuil as a harried executive whose life is changed through his encounter with a man with Downs Syndrome.

Of Belgian descent, Van Dormael was raised in Germany until age seven, when his family returned to Belgium. At his birth, the future filmmaker had nearly been strangled by the umbilical cord and received an insufficient supply of oxygen. It was feared that he may end up mentally impaired. This trauma perhaps accounts for the recurring themes in his films, which explore the worlds of those who are considered "mentally handicapped". Eventually moving to France to study film, Van Dormael supported himself by working as a clown. He began making short films in 1980 with the children's story "Maedli le breche". A number of his subsequent shorts, including "L'Imitateur" (1982) and "E Percoloso Sporgersi" (1984), had themes centering on the joy of and the talent for living.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Mr. Nobody (2009)
3.
  Eighth Day, The (1996) Director
4.
  Lumiere Et Compagnie (1996) Featured Director
5.
  Toto the Hero (1991) Director
6.
  Boot, De (1985) Director
7.
  E Pericoloso Sporgersi (1984) Director
8.
  Sortie de Secours (1983) Director
9.
  Imitateur, L' (1982) Director
10.
  Voisins, Les (1981) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1975:
Worked as circus clown with the Big Flying Circus in Belgium
:
Became a producer of children's entertainment with the Theatre de Galafronie, Theatre Isocele and Theatre de la Guimbarde
1980:
Began directing and writing fictional shorts, documentaries and promotional films
1980:
Directed first fiction short, "Maedli la Breche", an 18-minute film for children
1991:
First feature film, "Toto the Hero"
1992:
Wrote screenplay for "Heaven and Earth"
1996:
Directed "Le Huitieme Jour/The Eighth Day"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ecole de Vaugirard: -
INSAS Institute: -

Notes

"I myself constantly have the feeling that nothing is happening, that life has no meaning and is going nowhere. This is precisely why I chose to become a filmmaker--so I could tell myself stories and make them exist, and be successful in organising reality." --Jaco Van Dormael quoted in press material for "Toto les Heroes"

"I'd be happy if, on leaving the film ['Le Huitieme jour'], the audience were to board a bus, see a person with Down's syndrome there and say, 'Great, a person with Down's syndrome'. On the set, their presence was a joy." --Jaco Van Dormael

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Pierre Van Dormael. Composer. Wrote the score for "Toto le Heros" (1991).

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