Valérie Donzelli

Valérie Donzelli (born 2 March 1973) is a French actress, filmmaker and screenwriter. She has directed five feature films and two short films since 2008, including the film Declaration of War (2011).

Valérie Donzelli
Valérie Donzelli.jpg
Valérie Donzelli in 2011 at the Cabourg Film Festival
Born (1973-03-02) 2 March 1973 (age 47)
Épinal, Vosges, France
OccupationFilm director, actress, screenwriter
Years active1998–present

Early lifeEdit

Valérie Donzelli was born in Épinal (France). She grew up in Créteil, near Paris. She moved to Lille with her family when she was 14 years old before going back to Paris at the age of 19. Before starting to work in the cinema, Donzelli first studied architecture, but abandoned it quickly. She started playing theatre at the municipal conservatory of the 10th arrondissement of Paris, but always kept a bad memory of this period. For a living, she worked at a bakery in Paris. She met Jérémie Elkaïm at that time, who became her partner, both in life and at work, and who encouraged her to quit the conservatory and her job at the bakery to become an actress. They now have two kids; the oldest one, Gabriel, inspired the movie Declaration of War. They are now separated, but still have a close relationship.[1][2]


In 2001, Valérie Donzelli was the leading actress in Martha Martha, by Sandrine Veysset, which was presented at Directors' Fortnight, Le Plus Beau Jour de ma vie, and also Entre ses mains. She achieved great success among French public thanks to the French TV show Clara Sheller (2005), in which she plays Jeanne, best friend of the main character. Donzelli's first film, The Queen of Hearts (La Reine des Pommes), in which she was the leading actress, was more successful than expected. Jérémie Elkaïm is also co-writer. The film was presented at Locarno International Film Festival. Despite its low budget, the film can be considered a success because of its 30,000 spectators.[3][4]

In 2011, with the help of her now ex-partner Jérémie Elkaïm, Valérie Donzelli directed her second full-length feature film, Declaration of War. This movie, presented during the 2011 Cannes Festival, achieved great success, both with the public and critics, in France. It is directly inspired by their private life, relating how their couple fought against their son's cancer when he was 18 months.[5] As Tim Palmer notes, "Declaration of War serves as an emblematic, even quintessential, contemporary French production: a barometer to gauge film industry standards and prevailing French cultural taste, a standard-bearer of ostensibly progressive materials, an ambassador text for French screen values."[6] The movie was selected for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, but was not part of the final list.

Donzelli directed once again Jérémie Elkaïm in Main dans la main (2012), with also Valérie Lemercier in the leading role.

Donzelli considers that this is always a politic and engaged gesture to make films as women, and admires Agnès Varda for her work and her status of first women filmmaker into French Cinema.[1]

Valérie Donzelli is part of the jury during Locarno International Film Festival in 2013. She presents Que d'Amour!, a TV adaptation from the play The Game of Love and Chance (Le Jeu de l'Amour et du Hasard), by Marivaux, with Comédie-Française' sociétaires.[4]

Her 2015 film Marguerite & Julien was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[7] She was named as the President of the Jury of the International Critics' Week section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.[8]




Short filmsEdit

  • 1998: Herbert C. Berliner by Marc Gibaja
  • 1999: Le Spectateur by Marc Gibaja : Cynthia
  • 2000: Demoiselle by Valérie Donzelli : Adèle
  • 2001: Confessions dans un bain by Marc Gibaja : Sophie
  • 2001: Le Chien, le chat et le cibachrome by Didier Blasco
  • 2003: Ni vue, ni connue by Dorothée Sebbagh : Alice
  • 2003: Le Lion volatil by Agnès Varda : La cliente en pleurs
  • 2004: Frédérique amoureuse by Pierre Lacan : Frédérique
  • 2004: Le Nécrophile by Philippe Barassat : La prostituée
  • 2005: On est mort un million de fois by Dorothée Sebbagh : Valentine
  • 2006: Odile... by Bénédicte Delgéhier : Odile
  • 2007: Abattoir by Didier Blasco : Judith
  • 2007: Il fait beau dans la plus belle ville du monde by Valérie Donzelli : Adèle
  • 2008: C'est pour quand? by Katia Lewkowicz : La jeune fille
  • 2009: Juliette by Sylvie Ballyot : Juliette
  • 2010: Madeleine et le facteur by Valérie Donzelli : Madeleine
  • 2010: Manu by Jérémie Elkaïm : Julie
  • 2012: Révolution by Nadia Jandeau


  • 1999: Dossier: disparus épisode Amanda by Frédéric Demont et Philippe Lefebvre: Amanda/Muriel
  • 1999: Les Terres froides by Sébastien Lifshitz: Isabelle
  • 2002: Sous mes yeux by Virginie Wagon: Alison
  • 2003: Motus by Laurence Ferreira Barbosa: La stagiaire d'Antoine
  • 2005: Le Cocon, débuts à l'hôpital by Pascale Dallet: Nathalie
  • 2005: Clara Sheller by Renaud Bertrand: Jeanne
  • 2006: Mentir un peu by Agnès Obadia: Blandine
  • 2006: Passés troubles by Serge Meynard: Sophie Valatier
  • 2007: Les Camarades by François Luciani (minisérie): Julie
  • 2008: Sa raison d'être by Renaud Bertrand: Nathalie
  • 2008: Mafiosa, le clan Saison 2 d'Eric Rochant: L'avocate
  • 2009: La Belle vie by Virginie Wagon: Béa


  • 2000: Demoiselle
  • 2007: Il fait beau dans la plus belle ville du monde
  • 2009: The Queen of Hearts
  • 2010: Madeleine et le facteur
  • 2011: Declaration of War
  • 2012: La Vie parisienne de Vincent Dietschy (originale idea)
  • 2012: Main dans la main

Film directorEdit

Short filmsEdit

  • 2007: Il fait beau dans la plus belle ville du monde
  • 2010: Madeleine et le facteur



Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ a b "Valérie Donzelli et Jérémie Elkaïm, à l'assaut de la vie" [Valerie Donzelli and Jérémie Elkaïm, on the assault of life] (in French). 3 September 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  2. ^ Aurélien Ferenczi (3 September 2011). "Valérie Donzelli et Jérémy Elkaïm, l'épreuve par deux" [Valérie Donzelli and Jérémy Elkaïm, the event by two] (in French). Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Valérie Donzelli, reine du burlesque" [Valerie Donzelli, queen of burlesque] (in French). 22 August 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Valérie Donzelli, championne de triathlon" [Valérie Donzelli, triathlon champion]. Le Monde (in French). 22 August 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Valérie Donzelli et Jérémie Elkaïm, du côté de la vie" [Valerie Donzelli and Jérémie Elkaïm, on the side of life] (in French). 11 May 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  6. ^ Palmer, Tim (2017). "War and Peace in the Contemporary French Film Ecosystem: Valérie Donzelli's La Guerre est declarée". Modern & Contemporary France. 25 (1): 31–47. doi:10.1080/09639489.2016.1202219.
  7. ^ "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Jury 2016". Semaine de la Critique de Cannes. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  9. ^

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit