French writer and director Cedric Klapisch is known for making films that explore the ways in which individuals exist in relation to a group of people, whether that group be a family or the denizens of an urban neighborhood. Two of Klapisch's most successful films, Chacun Cherche Son Chat and Un Air de Famille, impressed critics and audiences with their humorous, warm-hearted interpretations of this kind of relationship, and they helped establish their director as a man with considerable talent for capturing the nuances and flow of human interaction.
Influenced by the movies of Martin Scorsese, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen, Klapisch studied film at NYU, which he attended from 1982 until 1985. While in New York, he worked on short films as a camera operator and a director; after returning to France, he directed a series of industrial films and documentary segments for French television. In the late '80s, Klapisch began making short films, one of which, Ce Qui Me Meut (1989), was nominated for a César and won awards at the Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals.
Klapisch earned his second César nomination for his feature directorial debut, 1992's Riens du Tout. A comedy about a Parisian store manager who tries to train his staff in the American way of doing business, the film was a surprise success and helped to establish its director's reputation. Two years later, Le Péril Jeune, Klapisch's drama about a group of high school friends who reunite for the birth of a baby fathered by a recently deceased member of their group, also enjoyed a favorable reception. Also in 1994, Klapisch made a short film as part of 3000 Scenarios Contre un Virus, a series of shorts made about the AIDS virus.
In 1996, Klapisch won international acclaim and recognition with Chacun Cherche Son Chat (When the Cat's Away), his winsome comedy about a young Parisian woman (Garance Clavel) who loses her cat and, in the process of trying to find it, experiences a series of misadventures that introduce her to the people who share her neighborhood. Originally intended as a short, the film -- which was shot in Paris' diverse Bastille neighborhood -- was largely improvised and combined professional actors with non-professionals. Klapisch's knack for improvisation earned him an International Critics Award at the Berlin Film Festival, as well as popular success throughout Europe.
Klapisch repeated this success with Un Air de Famille (1997), a black comedy about the dysfunctional hilarity that ensues during a family's gathering. The film was honored with a number of Césars, including a Best Screenplay award for Klapisch. The director followed up Un Air de Famille two years later with Peut-être, a sci-fi drama about a man who gets the chance to journey into the future and meet his descendants.