Jacques Audiard is a French director and screenwriter who has made (directed) 6 movies in 18 years, each one of them, a masterpiece in its own respect. He deals with themes of inadequacy, violence, luck, identity, morality and the indomitable human spirit.
His latest work Rust and Bone lost out to Michael Haneke's Love(Amour) while competing for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.
A Prophet released in 2009 is his first work that came to my attention, in my yearly scan of the nominees at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie is about the improbable rise of an Arab in a French prison, against all odds. The protagonist does not hesitate to seize the moments to his advantage, turning the table of fortune, which till that point was heavily loaded against him.
The previous movie, The Beat That My Heart Skipped was released in 2004 and won 8 César Awards. The leading character has the burning desire to be a concert pianist, but his body is not able to respond to his mind's aspirations. He is probably too old to start training as a pianist. He knows that he has the innate ability, but he lacks the confidence. His mother was a pianist and we learn that she had a troubled marriage which her husband attributes to her being a pianist. He makes his living by means, which do not fall inside the rules of law. The conflict between the artist and the ordinary within oneself, which I believe every artist goes through is depicted with stunning ability. The whole movie, supported by a brilliant soundtrack is indeed, poetry in motion.
Read my Lips released in 2001, stars Vincent Cassel who plays a convict on parole and Emmanuelle Davos as an almost deaf secretary. Despite their initial apprehensions about each other, they end up communicating with each other, developing into an intimate relationship. Emmanuelle Davos won the César Award for Best Actress for her performance.
A Self made hero stars Mathieu Kassovitz as Albert Dehousse, an ordinary man with no special abilities to be a hero. Favored by luck, he reinvents his life during the second world war as a war-hero. The film can be summarised thus - "The most beautiful lives are those we invent". Audiard won the best screenplay award at the Cannes.
Audiard's first full-length film was See How They Fall released in 1994 starring Mathieu Kassovitz and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Mathieu Kassovitz plays a helpless, almost idiotic character who is dependent on Jean-Louis Trintignant's character, an unscrupulous loner.
Audiard for me, is a true successsor to the likes of giants in French Cinema, such as Francois Truffaut and Claude Chabrol.