Hippolyte Girardot dreamed of working on movie sets as a child, and after meeting French director Yannick Bellon, who was a friend of his mother's, he got his wish. Bellon cast him in his 1974 drama "La femme de Jean" as a cheerful teenager who helps his mother through a painful divorce. Girardot spent the next few years working odd jobs and returned to the screen in the 1983 romantic drama "Le destin de Juliette," about a blacksmith's daughter who is forced to choose a wealthy and abusive suitor over her true love. He worked steadily through the '80s, most notably appearing as a peasant schoolteacher in the critically acclaimed "Manon des Sources," the sequel to the cruelly ironic "Jean de Florette." In 1989, Girardot landed a breakthrough role in "Love Without Pity" with a sweet yet sad portrayal of an aimless dreamer who falls in love with an ambitious woman. After appearing as an unemployed political protestor in "Long Live the Republic" and as a suicidal traveler in the romantic comedy "Jump Tomorrow," he was cast as a high-powered businessman in Arnaud Desplechin's "Playing 'In the Company of Men'," a film concerning one ruthless family's struggle for financial power, and he later appeared in several more of the award-winning director's films. In 2009, Girardot wrote and directed his first film, the sweet but meandering "Yuki & Nina," which chronicled a young girl's attempts to deal with her parents' divorce and her subsequent move to Japan.