Guillaume Nicloux

I am a great advocate of provocation, in the sense of provoking emotions, debates and discussions. Unanimity horrifies me.

A cinematographer and writer, Guillaume Nicloux stands out in the French cinematic landscape thanks to his films haunted by death and hope, which present a specific vision of reality.

Published on 18/12/2019

2 min

Born in Melun in 1966, Guillaume Nicloux was deeply affected at the age of 5 by Walt Disney's animated film Bambi. This first cinematic shock sparked his imagination: he began to draw and to write his own scripts.

After starting to study accounting, Guillaume Nicloux started his theatre company La Troupe at the age of 18. In 1990 his first film, The Flying Children (“Les Enfants Volants”), earned him film festival selections in Berlin and Toronto.

In 1994, despite positive reactions at Cannes to Happiness is No Joke (“Faut pas rire du bonheur"), the filmmaker, lacking cinematic inspiration, turned to literature and published several successful police novels, including the The Octopus and Zoocity series.

Since the 2000s, Guillaume Nicloux has created a unique cinema which transcends genres, from political films – The Gordji Affair (“L’Affaire Gordji”, 2012)  to quirky comedies   Thalasso, 2019, dramas   To the Ends of the World (“Les Confins du monde", 2018), TV series   Twice Upon a Time (“Il était une seconde fois"), 2019)   and a film noir triptych   A Private Affair, Hanging Offense, The Key (“Une affaire privée", "Cette femme-là", La Clef”).

A great proponent of provocation, Guillaume Nicloux has distinguished himself in many genres. There is, however, a common thread running through the content of his works: through his impulsive writing, the filmmaker often examines death, hope and the idea of time passing.

His encounters with Michel Houellebecq (The Gordji Affair, 2012) and Gérard Depardieu (Valley of Love in 2015) inspired Guillaume Nicloux anew: he revisited the documentary genre by asking the actors to play themselves in The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq (“L’Enlèvement de Houellebecq”, 2014) and Thalasso (2019), two critical hits proving that his work shines brightest when he blends absurdity, reality and fiction.

Starting with the release of his first film, The Flying Children (1990), screened in Toronto and Berlin, Guillaume Nicloux was launched onto the world stage. But it was above all starting in 2012 that the French creator began to intrigue international critics, thanks to his film The Nun (“La Religieuse"), presented at the Berlinale. Two years later in 2014, The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq earned him the Best Screenplay Award and the Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as the Best Film Award at the Montreal World Film Festival.

With Valley of Love in 2015 and To the Ends of the World in 2018, filmed in the United States on the one hand and in Vietnam on the other, the filmmaker began to attract a wider audience.

  • 1986


    Guillaume Nicloux founds his company, La Troupe.

  • 1990


    He directs his first feature film, Les Enfants volants.

  • 1996


    He publishes his first novel, Zoocity.

  • 2011


    He collaborates with Michel Houellebecq for the first time in L'Affaire Gordji.

  • 2015


    He collaborates with Gérard Depardieu for the first time in Valley of Love.

  • 2019


    Release of Thalasso.

The Institut français and the filmmaker

Two films by Guillaume Nicloux are internationally distributed by the Institut français : Les Confins du monde (2018) and La Religieuse (2012).

The Institut français offers a catalogue of over 2,500 titles, enabling the French cultural network and its partners to screen French films around the world. Learn more about the film catalogue


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