Wide-eyed country boy Andre Techine relocated to Paris from his provincial hometown in southwest France at the age of 19 and, though he did not gain admittance to his country's top film school, was soon writing movie reviews for the prestigious CAHIERS DU CINEMA. He made his directorial debut with "Pauline s'en va" (1969) and followed with "Souvenirs d'en France" (1976), while providing screenplays for other directors (i.e., Liliane Dekermadec's "Aloise" 1975). He demonstrated his flair for richly textured, atmospheric storytelling with the aptly titled thriller "Barocco" (1977), starring Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani, but faltered somewhat with the sluggish, well-crafted "The Bronte Sisters" (1978)--worthwhile mainly for the superlative performances of Isabelle Huppert, Marie-France Pisier and Adjani, as well as the sole dramatic outing of literary theorist Roland Barthes (a fan of Techine's) in the role of William Thackery. The director himself has said: "I think my first films were too theoretical. They were too inspired by cinema, and not by real life."
"Hotel des Ameriques/Hotel of the Americas" (1981) marked the first time Techine let his actors improvise, a practice he has continued ever since, adjusting his scripts to accommodate the new material. It was also his first time directing Catherine Deneuve, and three films later, having played unglamorous, matronly roles to stretch her repertoire, she was still enthusiastic about working with him: "There are some directors who are more feminine than others, like Techine, like Truffaut. They are an exceptional gift to actresses." Juliette Binoche found that out as the star of "Rendez-Vous" (1985), a stylishly engrossing tale of obsessive sexuality which earned him the Cannes Festival Best Direction Award. Binoche was outstanding in her first lead role as an innocent provincial girl who arrives in Paris to pursue a career in the theater. Given the choice of the apparently virginal Wadeck Stanczak and his seedy roommate Lambert Wilson (playing an actor in a sex show), she opts to indulge her hedonistic impulses with the fascinating, repelling Wilson, his eventual demise profoundly maturing the once carefree girl.
Techine's poignant coming-of-age saga "Les Roseaux sauvages/Wild Reeds" (1994) earned him Cesars for his direction and screenplay and took honors as Best Picture. His first film released in the USA (in 1995) and his most autobiographical picture to date (the sensitive Francois discovering he is gay clearly an alter ego for the helmer) centered on the inner turmoil of a trio of youngsters at a provincial boarding school in 1962 and evoked the effect the Algerian War had on rural France. As Francois' platonic best friend Maite, Elodie Bouchez was nothing short of a revelation, garnering a Cesar as Most Promising Newcomer--Female. For his next two features released in the USA, Techine guided Deneuve to her most self-revelatory performances in years. "Ma Saison preferee/My Favorite Season" (1993, released in USA in April 1996) cast her and Daniel Auteuil as estranged siblings forced together by the decline of their ailing mother, while "Les Voleurs/Thieves" (1996), using the crime genre as a starting point, paired them in a "Rashomon"-style exploration of family and amorous ties. Techine's "Alice and Martin" (1998), a haunting love story between two emotionally damaged outsiders, reteamed him with Binoche, whose subtly nuanced performance as she moved from insecurity to almost obsessive purpose lent a dignity to her character that was the abiding memory of the film.
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Moved to Paris from home in southwest France at the age of 19
Directorial debut, "Paulina s'en va" (not released until 1975)
Made uncredited acting appearance in Jean Eustache's "The Mother and the Whore"
Co-wrote (with director) the screenplay for Liliane Dekermadec's "Aloise"; first association with Isabelle Huppert
Scripted and helmed "Barocco" starring Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani
Directed "The Bronte Sisters" starring Adjani and Huppert; co-wrote with Pascal Bonitzer and Jean Gruault
First film with Catherine Deneuve, "Hotel des Ameriques/Hotel of the Americas"
Won the Cannes Festival Best Direction Award for "Rendez-Vous" starring Juliette Binoche; co-wrote with Cahiers du Cinema critic Olivier Assayas
Reteamed with Deneuve for "Le Lieu de crime/The Scene of the Crime"; second screenplay collaboration with Bonitzer
First film with actor Daniel Auteuil, "Ma saison preferee/My Favorite Season"; also co-starred Deneuve (US release in 1996)
Scored big hit with "Les Roseaux sauvages/Wild Reeds" winning Cesars for direction and screenplay (first film released in the US)
Reteamed with Deneuve and Auteuil for "Les Voleurs/Thieves"; fifth screenplay on which Techine shared credit with Bonitzer
Reteamed with Binoche for "Alice and Martin" (released in the US in 1999)
Helmed the feature "Loin/Far" (shot in digital video)
Directed the feature adaptation, "Strayed/Les égarés" based on the novel, Le Garçon aux yeux gris by Gilles Perrault
Helmed the Morocco-set drama, "Changing Times/Les temps qui changent" starring Deneuve and Depardieu
Directed "The Witnesses/Les Témoins"; film is set in Paris in 1984, during the outbreak of AIDS