Philippe de Broca

Philippe de Broca (15 March 1933 – 26 November 2004) was a French film director.

Born Philippe Claude Alex de Broca de Ferrussac in Paris, the son of a photographer of noble origins. de Broca was a cinephile from an early age, and he studied at the l'École technique de photographie et de cinématographie (ETPC). To carry out his national service, de Broca went to Algeria during the Algerian War where he worked in the French army's film section for three years and saw a side of life which he disliked and wished to view in a different, more eccentric, light. de Broca began his career working as a camera man on several African documentaries, and later as an assistant to some of the most prominent directors of the French nouvelle vague (New Wave) movement in the 50s. He served an apprenticeship with Henri Decoin, became assistant to Claude Chabrol on Le Beau Serge (Handsome Serge) in 1957, and later assisted François Truffaut with Les quatre-cent coups (The 400 Blows).

He made his first film in 1959, a low-budget improvisational comedy Les Jeux de l'amour. At the 10th Berlin International Film Festival it won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Jury Prize. de Broca did not have a real success, however, until directing Cartouche (film) (1962). Cartouche was the first of a series of major box office hits by de Broca, including L'Homme de Rio (1964) and Les Tribulations d'un chinois en Chine (1965). He often worked in comedy, but not exclusively. He was well known for his combination of madcap farce and adventure, within France and beyond. His anti-war film Le Roi de cœur achieved international popularity (after suffering at the box office in France), and gained cult status in America. de Broca's most recent hit was Le Bossu (1997).

Throughout his career de Broca worked with many giants of French cinema, among them Jean-Paul Belmondo, Patrick Dewaere, Catherine Deneuve, Daniel Auteuil, Philippe Noiret, Yves Montand and Jean Rochefort. Many of his films' lead actors and actresses are in multiple films of his. These people include Geneviève Bujold, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Nicole Garcia, Catherine Deneuve, Marthe Keller, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Annie Girardot, and Philippe Noiret.

De Broca had a son with Marthe Keller in 1971. He was married to another of his actresses Margot Kidder (1983–1984), and later to actress Valérie Rojan, with whom he had two children.

De Broca died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, as a result of cancer. He was awarded the Legion of Honor for his contributions to French culture.

Read more about Philippe De Broca:  Filmography