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Date of birth
12 February 1933, Loutra-Iraias, Greece
Constantin Costa-Gavras (February 12th, 1933, Loutra-Iraias, Greece )
Selected filmography of
Born Konstantinos Gavras in Loutra-Iraias, Greece in 1933, Costa-Gavras has spent his career melding overt political content with compelling narrative filmmaking.
After high school in Athens, the teenaged Costa-Gavras initially sought to pursue a film career in the United States.
Refused admission to the US because of his father's leftist politics, young Costa-Gavras went instead to Paris where he studied literature at the Sorbonne and film at IDHEC.
“My mother used to say ‘stay away from politics’, because my father went to prison. But if you reject politics, you reject a lot of relationships. The worst thing in society is individualism.”
After working as an assistant director for Rene Clair (TOUT L'OR DU MONDE '61) and Jacques Demi (BAY OF ANGELS '63) amongst others, Costa-Gavras directed his first feature, THE SLEEPING CAR MURDERS in 1966.
MURDERS was an exuberant and entertaining valentine to the Hollywood crime pictures of Costa-Gavras' youth.
His third film, Z ('69), a breathlessly paced condemnation of the Greek military junta's ruthless seizure of power in 1966, became an international sensation.
Costa-Gavras' unheralded blend of documentary fact and thriller-like narrative urgency earned Z the jury prize at Cannes, an Academy Award for best foreign film, a British Academy Award for best film and the New York Film Critics Circle nod for best film and best direction.
THE CONFESSION ('70) and STATE OF SIEGE ('73), both starring Z's Yves Montand, were in a similar vein and detailed political oppression in Czechoslovakia and Uruguay respectively with genre film intensity.
Though SIEGE's anti-American elements caused some controversy in the US at the time of its release, by the early eighties Costa-Gavras was working in Hollywood.
His American debut, MISSING ('82), the story of an American family seeking word of a "disappeared" family member in Latin America, won accolades for leads Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon and earned Costa-Gavras a shared best screenplay Oscar.
His 1983 follow up, the pro-Palestinian melodrama HANNA K., surprised and infuriated many of those who'd championed MISSING.
After the French comedy FAMILY BUSINESS ('86), Costa-Gavras made two films in a row from scripts by Hollywood bete-noir Joe Eszterhas.
The second, THE MUSIC BOX ('89) earned the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1990. In the last decade Costa-Gavras has helmed both French and American features and has made contributions to anthology films like 1995's LUMIERE AND COMPANY.
Costa-Gavras has performed in several films including MADAME ROSA in 1978 and John Landis' 1986 SPIES LIKE US and was the co-subject of the 1976 documentary, COSTA-GAVRAS TALKS WITH MARCEL OPHULS: POLITICAL FILMS (1976). A citizen of France, he was appointed president of the Cinematheque Francaise in 1982.
Mad City (1997)
Lumière and Company (1995)
À propos de Nice, la suite (1995) (segment "Les Kankobals")
Little Apocalypse, The (1993)
Against Oblivion (1991)
Music Box (1989)
Family Business (1986)
Hanna K. (1983)
Womanlight (1979) (USA)
Special Section (1975)
State of Siege (1973)
Confession, The (1970) (USA)
Sleeping Car Murders, The (1965)
Rates, Les (1958)
Capital - Le capital (2012)
The Ax - Le Couperet (2005)
Mad City (1997)
The Confession - L'aveu (1970)
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