Award-winning French writer-director Cédric Kahn explored the heights and depths of interpersonal relationships in a string of critically acclaimed films in the 1990s and 2000s, including "Trop de Bonheur" (1994), "Roberto Succo" (2001), "Red Lights" (2004) and "Une vie meilleure" (2011). He began as an editor before moving into feature writing and directing with "Overseas" (1990) and "Bar des rails" (1991). Success on the film festival marked followed with "Trop de Bonheur" and the thriller "Roberto Succo" before Kahn defied expections with an animated film, L'avion" (2005). He subsequently returned to more complex dramatic fare with "Meilleure" while also enjoying a second career as an actor. Kahn's diverse body of work underscored critical and audience opinion of him as one of Europe's most versatile directors.
Born June 17, 1966 in Fontenay-aux-Roses in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, Cédric Kahn began his film career as a trainee editor on Maurice Pialat's 1987 drama "Under the Sun of Satan" with Gérard Depardieu. Two years later, he made his directorial debut with the short "Les dernières heures du millénaire" (1990) and co-wrote the drama "Overseas" for actress turned director Brigitte Roüan. She returned the favor by co-starring in his first feature film, "Bar des rails," about the romance between a teenaged boy and a young mother. Kahn divided his time between his own projects and writing assignments for other filmmakers like Laurence Ferreira Barbosa's "Normal People Have Nothing Exceptional" (1993) before scoring his first breakout hits with the TV drama "Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge." (1994) and the comedy-drama "Trop de Bonheur," which captured the Prix Jean Vigo for Best Feature Film.
With his directorial career now established, Kahn quickly dispelled initial notions about his work which described him as a naturalist filmmaker, by exploring a wide variety of genres. His existentialist drama "L'ennui" (1998), about a teacher's torrid affair with a femme fatale, garnered three Cesar nominations, while its follow-up, "Roberto Succo" (2001), examined the horrific crimes of the eponymous real-life serial killer and earned a Palme d'Or nomination from the Cannes Film Festival. Kahn remained in the thriller mode for "Red Lights" (2004), a harrowing drama based on the 1955 novel by Georges Simenon about an estranged couple (Pierre Darroussin and Carole Bouquet) who undergo a terrifying ordeal while on a road trip. It received solid critical notices and nominations from both the Berlin International Film Festival and Independent Spirit Awards. To the surprise of many, Kahn's next effort was "L'Avian" (2005), a lovely animated film for children about a boy's connection to a model plane given to him by his late father. Four years later, he returned to mature drama with "Regrets" (2009), which was also his first screenplay based on original material in over a decade. The romance starred Yvan Attal as a shy, middle-aged man who emerges from his late mother's shadow to begin anew a relationship with his school girlfriend (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). In 2011, Kahn wrotes and directed "Une vie meilleure," about a couple (Guillaume Cnet and Leila Bekhti) who encounter tremendous challenges in their pursuit of happiness. During this period, Kahn also dabbled in acting, most notably as the brother of a Jewish drug dealer in "Alyah" (2012) and "Miss and the Doctors" (2013) as one of two medical professionals in love with the same barmaid (Louise Bourgoin).