François Damiens directs “Mon Ket”: Brussels premiere of actor’s first feature as film director

On a hot Saturday evening in Brussels, when everybody seems to be having a drink or enjoying dinner in the narrow and picturesque streets of the city’s historical center, the last thing a lot of people consider is going to the movies. Subsequently, it’s far more difficult for movie theaters to attract audiences when the outside temperature reaches nearly 30 degrees Celsius, as it did last Saturday, unless of course they got their hands on a huge blockbuster.

But, guess again. Belgian-born François Damiens (b. 1973), for many years now a reliable character and leading actor in French-language cinema, was in town to promote the release of his latest screen effort “Mon Ket,” which marks his debut as a filmmaker and screenwriter. The gala event resulted into a huge turnout of approximately 1,700 people who attended screenings of “Mon Ket” in three theaters at UGC’s Brouckère multiplex.

To make his film he could rely on his experience filming sketches for TV with a hidden camera which he did several years ago, because that’s what “Mon Ket” is basically all about: most of his actors are really not aware they’re part of the movie, which makes it an interesting tour-de-force screen project. Shooting the film (chronologically) and in the meantime editing took him about a year and a half, with some three hundred people being captured on camera, but for various reasons only about twenty-five are in the movie – some people didn’t want to be in it, at times there were technical difficulties, etc.

François Damiens in Brussels to promote the release of “Mon Ket.” Photograph: Leo Verswijver

According to Mr. Damiens, a four-time César-nominee, you can’t be any more truthful than that. A few of the principal actors were cast though, like the son (‘mon ket’ played by Matteo Salamone) and the brother: they knew the narrative, but were free to improvise any way they wanted. No wonder that he only needed a thirty-page screenplay to figure it out – co-written by film director Benoît Mariage, a long-time collaborator of yet another Belgian screen comedian Benoît Poelvoorde. For his own screen role, Mr. Damiens was in disguise though – wearing a wig and heavy makeup – just to make sure people in the street wouldn’t recognize him when he was interacting with whomever he met.

Mon Ket is a French-language figure of speech and refers to ‘my son.’ The film, dealing with parenthood and a father who does anything he possibly can to raise his son while it remains to be seen whether he will succeed, is out May 30 in France and French-speaking territories in Belgium.

François Damiens with his ‘ket,’ Matteo Salamone, at the Brussels’ UGC Brouckère multiplex. Photograph: Leo Verswijver

Brussels (Belgium)
May 26, 2018

FILMS OF FRANÇOIS DAMIENS

LA COMMUNE (PARIS, 1871) (2000) DIR Peter Watkins SCR Peter Watkins, Agathe Bluysen CAM Odd-Geir Sæther ED Peter Watkins, Patrick Watkins, Agathe Bluysen Olivier Ferrari CAST Eliane Annie Adalto, Pierre Barbieux, Bernard Bombeau, Malys Bouffartigue, Geneviève Capy, Anne Carlier, Véronique Couron, François Damiens (Uncredited)

OSS 117: LE CAIRE, NID D’ESPIONS, a.k.a. OSS 117: CAIRO, NEST OF SPIES (2006) DIR Michel Hazanavicius PROD Manuel Alduy, Nicolas Seydoux, Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, Sidonie Dumas, Franck Chorot, Christophe Riandee, Bertrand Maheux SCR Jean-François Halin (adaptation by Michel Hazanavicius, Jean-François Halin; novel by Jean Bruce) CAM Guillaume Schiffman ED Reynald Bertrand MUS Ludovic Bource, Kamel Ech-Cheik CAST Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Béjo, Aure Atika, François Damiens (Raymond Pelletier), Khalid Maadour, Constantin Alexandrov

DIKKENEK (2006) DIR Olivier Van Hoofstadt PROD Emmanuel Prévost, Marc Libert SCR Olivier Van Hoofstadt, Olivier Legrain CAM Jean-François Hensgens ED Yves Beloniak, Vincent Tabaillon MUS Damien Roques CAST Marion Cotillard, Dominique Pinon, Jean-Luc Couchard, Jérémie Renier, Mélanie Laurent, François Damiens (Claudy), Florence Foresti, Catherine Jacob

TAXI 4 (2007) DIR Gérard Krawczyk PROD – SCR Luc Besson CAM Pierre Morel ED Christine Lucas Navarro MUS Romanic Laurence Maste, Damiens Roques, Tefa, Wealstarr CAST Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal, Bernard Farcy, Emma Wiklund, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Jean-Luc Couchard, François Damiens (Serge)

COW-BOY (2007) DIR – SCR Benoît Mariage PROD Dominique Janne CAM Philippe Guilbert ED Philippe Bougueil CAST Benoît Poelvoorde, Gilbert Melki, François Damiens (Franz), Julie Depardieu, Bouli Lanners, Jean-Marie Barbier, Olivier Gourmet

LE PREMIER VENU, a.k.a. JUST ANYONE (2008) DIR – SCR Jacques Doillon PROD Patrick Quinet CAM Hélène Louvart ED Marie Da Costa CAST Clémentine Beaugrand, Gérald Thomassin, Guillaune Saurrel, Gwendoline Godquin, Jany Garachana, François Damiens (Real Estate Dealer)

LES HAUTS MURS, a.k.a. BEHIND THE WALLS (2008) DIR Christian Faure PROD Jean Nainchrik, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam SCR Christian Faure, Albert Algoud (novel by Auguste Le Breton) CAM Jean-Claude Larrieu ED Jean-Daniel Fernandez-Qundez MUS Charles Court CAST Carole Bouquet, François Damiens (Supervisor), Emile Berling, Pascal N’Zonzi, Michel Jonasz, Catherine Jacob, Bernard Blancan

15 ANS ET DEMI…, a.k.a. DADDY COOL (2008) DIR François Desagnat, Thomas Sorriaux PROD Luc Bossi, Patrice Ledoux SCR (adaptation by François Desagnat, Thomas Sorriaux; novel by Vincent Ravalec) CAM Vincent Mathias ED Christine Lucas Navarro MUS Alexandre Azaria CAST Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Lamboley, François Damiens (Jean-Maxence), Lionel Abelanski, Julie Ferrier, François Berléand, Elise Larnicol, Sara Mortensen

JCVD (2008) DIR Mabrouk El Mechri PROD Patrick Quinet, Arlette Zylderberg, Jani Thiltges SCR Mabrouk El Mechri (original idea by Frédéric Taddeï, Vincent Ravalec; adaptation by Mabrouk El Mechri) CAM Pierre-Yves Bastard ED Kako Kelber MUS Gast Waltzing CAST Jean-Claude Van Damme, Valérie Bodson, Hervé Sogne, Rock Chen, Huifang Wang, John Flanders, Renata Kamara, François Damiens (Bruges)

LA PERSONNE AU DEUX PERSONNES, a.k.a. THE PERSON WHO IS TWO PERSONS (2008) DIR – SCR Nicolas Charlet, Bruno Lavaine PROD Amandine Billot, Alain Chabat CAM Laurent Dailland ED Reynald Bertrand MUS Nicolas Errèra CAST Daniel Auteuil, Alain Chabat, Marina Foïs, François Damiens (Doctor Cogip), Denis Maréchal, Édith Le Merdy, Fred Tousch

SEULS TWO, a.k.a. 2 ALONE IN PARIS (2008) DIR Ramzy Bedia, Eric Judor PROD Alain Attal SCR Ramzy Bedia, Eric Judor, Lionel Dutemple, Philippe Lefebvre CAM Philippe Piffeteau ED Sébastien de Saint Croix, Jean-Christophe Hym CAST Ramzy Bedia, Eric Judor, Kristin Scott Thomas, Omar Sy, François Damiens

LES ENFANTS DE TIMPELBACH, a.k.a. TROUBLE AT TIMPETILL (2008) DIR Nicolas Bary PROD Dimitri Lassam SCR Nicolas Bary, Nicolas Peufaillit, Fabrice Roger-Lacan (novel by Henry Winterfeld) CAM Axel Cosnefroy ED Véronique Lange MUS Frédéric Talgorn CAST Raphaël Katz, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Baptiste Bétoulaud, Martin Jobert, Lola Créton, Gérard Depardieu, Carole Bouquet, François Damiens

INCOGNITO (2009) DIR Eric Lavaine PROD François Cornuau, Vincent Roget SCR Eric Lavaine, Bénabar, Héctor Cabello Reyes CAM Stéphane Cami ED Vincent Zuffranieri MUS Bénabar CAST Franck Dubosc, Bénadar, Jocelyn Quivrin, Anne Marivin, Isabelle Nanty, François Damiens (Driver), Gérard Loussine, Yolande Moreau, Héctor Cabello Reyes

LA FAMILLE WOLBERG, a.k.a. THE WOLBERG FAMILY (2009) DIR – SCR Axelle Ropert PROD David Thion, Philippe Martin CAM Céline Bozon ED Emmanuelle Castro CAST François Damiens (Simon), Valérie Benguigui, Léopoldine Serre, Valentin Vigourt, Serge Bozon, Jean-Luc Bideau, Jocelyn Quivrin

LE PETIT NICOLAS, a.k.a. LITTLE NICOLAS (2009) DIR Laurent Tirard PROD Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier SCR Laurent Tirard, Grégoire Vigneron (characters created by René Goscinny, Jean-Jacques Sempé) CAM Denis Rouden ED Valérie Deseine MUS Klaus Badelt CAST Valérie Lercier, Kad Merad, Sandrine Kiberlain, François Damiens (Blébur), Maxime Godart, Vincent Claude, Charles Vaillant

PROTÉGER & SERVIR (2010) DIR Eric Lavaine PROD Vincent Roget, François Cornuau, Genevieve Lemal, Alexandre Lippens SCR Eric Lavaine, Héctor Cabello Reyes (television series LE 17 by Eric Lavine, Bénabar, Jean-Paul Bathany, Alexandre Pesle, Frédédric Proust) CAM Stéphane Cami ED Vincent Zuffranieri CAST Kad Merad, Carole Bouquet, Clovis Cornillac, François Damiens (Roméro), Elsa Kikoïne, Jean-Luc Couchard, Héctor Cabello Reyes

L’ARNACŒUR, a.k.a. HEARTBREAKER (2010) DIR Pascal Chaumeil PROD Laurent Zeitoun, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou SCR Laurent Zeitoun, Jeremy Doner, Yann Gromb (original idea by Laurent Zeitoun) CAM Thierry Arbogast ED Dorian Rigal-Ansous MUS Klaus Badelt CAST Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, François Damiens (Marc), Héléna Noguerra, Andrew Lincoln, Jacques Frantz, Amandine Dewasmes

RIEN À DÉCLARER (2010) DIR – SCR Dany Boon PROD Eric Hubert, Jérôme Seydoux CAM Pierre Aïm ED Luc Barnier, Géraldine Rétif MUS Philippe Rombi CAST Benoît Poelvoorde, Dany Boon, Christel Pedrinelli, Karin Viard, François Damiens (Jacques Janus), Joachim Ledeganck, Philippe Magnan, Julie Bernard, Bouli Lanners, Olivier Gourmet

UNE AFFAIRE PURE, a.k.a. BORDERLINE (2011) DIR Alexandre Coffre PROD Bruno Chiche, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou SCR Alexandre Coffre (novel by Matthew Kneale) CAM Guillaume Deffontaines ED Sophie Fourdrinoy MUS Éric Neveux CAST François Damiens (David Pelame), Pascale Arbillot, Laurent Lafitte, Gilles Cohen, Didier Flamand, Nicolas Marié, Françoise Gerbelot

NI À VENDRE NI À LOUER, a.k.a. HOLIDAYS BY THE SEA (2011) DIR Pascal Rabaté PROD Xavier Delmas SCR Pascal Rabaté, Scop CAM Benoît Chamaillard ED Jean-François Elie MUS Alain Pewzner CAST Jacques Gamblin, Maria De Medeiros, François Damiens (Monsiuer Fraises), Dominique Pinon, Marie Kremer, Gustave Kervern, François Morel

LA DÉLICATESSE, a.k.a. DELICACY (2011) DIR David Foenkinos, Stéphane Foenkinos PROD Xavier Rigault, Marc-Antoine Robert SCR David Foenkinos (also novel) CAM Rémy Chevrin ED Virginie Bruant MUS Émilie Simon CAST Audrey Tautou, François Damiens (Markus Lundell), Bruno Todeschini, Mélanie Bernier, Joséphine de Meaux, Pio Marmaï, Monique Chaumette, Marc Citti, Sasha Spielberg

TORPEDO (2012) DIR – SCR Matthieu Donck PROD Benoît Jaubert, Dominique Janne CAM Manuel Dacosse ED Damien Keyeux MUS Renaud Mayeur CAST François Damiens (Michel Ressac), Audrey Dana, Christian Charmetant, Cédric Constantin, Gustave Kervern

LES KAÏRA, a.k.a. PORN IN THE HOOD (2012) DIR – SCR Franck Gastambide PROD Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, Jean-Charles Felli CAM Antoine Marteau MUS Éric Neveux CAST Medi Sadoun, Franck Gastambide, Jib Pocthier, Ramzy Bedia, François Damiens (Claude Fachoune), Annabelle Lenfronne

SAMMY 2 [French-language version of A TURTLE’S TALE 2] (2012, animated) DIR Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen PROD Caroline Van Iseghem, Ben Stassen, Domonic Paris, Mimi Maynard, Nadia Khamlichi, Gina Gallo SCR Domonic Paris MUS Ramin Djawadi CAST (voice only) Franck Dubosc, François Damiens (Philippe), Ellen Dubin, Jack Damiens, Jérémie Covilault, Catherine Davenier

TANGO LIBRE (2012) DIR Frédéric Fonteyne PROD Claude Waringo SCR Philippe Blasband, Anne Paulicevich CAM Virginie Saint-Martin ED Ewin Ryckaert CAST François Damiens (Jean-Christophe), Sergi López, Jan Hammenecker, Anne Paulicevich, Zacharie Chasseriaud, Christian Kmiotek, Jaco Van Dormael

SUZANNE (2013) DIR Katell Quillévéré PROD Bruno Levy, Gaëtan David SCR Katell Quillévéré, Mariette Désert CAM Tom Harari ED Thomas Marchand CAST Sara Forestier, François Damiens (Nicolas Merevsky), Adèle Haenel, Paul Hamy, Lola Dueñas, Corrine Masiero, Anne Le Ny, Karim Leklou

TIP TOP (2013) DIR Serge Bozon PROD David Thion, Nicolas Steil, Philippe Martin SCR Serge Bozon, Axelle Ropert (novel by Odile Barski) CAM Céline Bozon ED François Quiqueré MUS Roland Wiltgen CAST Sandrine Kiberlain, Isabelle Huppert, François Damiens (Robert Mendès), Karole Rocher, Aymen Saïdi, Saïda Bekkouche, Elie Lison, Allain Naron

GARE DU NORD (2013) DIR Claire Simon PROD Richard Copans SCR Claire Simon, Shirel Amitay, Olivier Lorelle CAM Richard Copans, Laurent Bourgeat ED Julien Lacheray MUS Marc Ribot CAST Nicole Garcia, Reda Kateb, François Damiens (Sacha), Monia Chokri, Sophie Bredier, Michael Evans, Lucille Vieaux

JE FAIS LE MORT, a.k.a. PLAYING DEAD (2013) DIR Jean-Paul Salomé PROD Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Michel Saint-Jean SCR Jean-Paul Salomé, Cécile Telerman, Jérôme Tonnerre CAM Pascal Ridao ED Sylvie Lager MUS Bruno Coulais CAST François Damiens (Jean Renault), Géraldine Nakache, Lucien Jean-Baptiste, Anne Le Ny, Jean-Marie Winling, Kévin Azaïs, Nanou Garcia

LA FAMILLE BÉLIER, a.k.a. THE BÉLIER FAMILY (2014) DIR Eric Lartigau PROD Stéphanie Bermann, Eric Jehelmann, Philippe Rousselet SCR Victoria Bedos, Stanislas Carré de Malberg (adaptation by Eric Lartigau, Thomas Bidegain; original idea by Victoria Bedos) CAM Romain Winding ED Jennifer Augé MUS Sacha Galperine, Evgueni Galperine CAST Karin Viard, François Damiens (), Éric Elmosnino, Louane Emera, Roxane Duran, Ilian Bergala, Luca Gelberg

LE TOUT NOUVEAU TESTAMENT, a.k.a. THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT (2015) DIR Jaco Van Dormael PROD Jaco Van Dormael, Daniel Marquet, Olivier Rausin SCR Jaco Van Dormael, Thomas Gunzig CAM Christophe Beaucarne ED Hervé de Luze MUS An Pierlé CAST Benoît Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve, François Damiens (François), Yolande Moerau, Pili Groyne, Laura Verlinden, Serge Larivière, Johan Leysen, Dominique Abel, Pascal Duquenne, Jaco Van Dormael

LES COWBOYS (2015) DIR Thomas Bidegain PROD Alain Attal SCR Thomas Bidegain, Noé Debré (original idea by Thomas Bidegain, Laurent Abitbol) CAM Arnaud Potier ED Géraldine Mangenot MUS Raphaël Haroche, Moritz Reich CAST François Damiens (Alain Balland), Finnegan Oldfield, Agathe Dronne, Ellora Torchia, Antoine Chappey, Maxim Driesen, Jean-Louis Coulloc’h, John C. Reilly, Sam Louwyck

DES NOUVELLES DE LA PLANÈT MARS, a.k.a. NEWS FROM PLANET MARS (2016) DIR Dominick Moll PROD Michel Saint-Jean SCR Dominick Moll, Gilles Marchand CAM Jean-François Hensgens ED Margot Meynier MUS Adrian Johnston CAST François Damiens (Philippe Mars), Vincent Macaigne, Veerle Baetens, Jeanne Guittet, Tom Rivoire, Michel Aumont, Catherine Samie, Léa Drucker

LA DANSEUSE, a.k.a. THE DANCER (2016) DIR Stéphanie Di Giusto PROD Alain Attal SCR Stéphanie Di Giusto, Sarah Thibeau (adaptation by Sarah Thibeau; novel by Giovanni Lista) CAM Benoît Debie ED Géraldine Mangenot MUS Max Richter CAST Soko, Gaspard Ulliel, Mélanie Thierry, Lily-Rose Depp, François Damiens (Edouard Marchand), Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Amanda Plummer, Denis Ménochet

ILS SONT PARTOUT, a.k.a. THE JEWS (2016) DIR Yvan Attal PROD Thomas Langmann SCR Yvan Attal, Émilie Frèche CAM Rémy Chevrin MUS Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine CAST Benoît Poelvoorde, Valérie Bonneton, Dany Boon, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Grégory Gadebois, Denys Podalydès, Gilles Lellouche, François Damiens (Roger), Yvan Attal

ÔTEZ-MOI D’UN DOUTE, a.k.a. JUST TO BE SURE (2017) DIR Carine Tardieu PROD Fabrice Goldstein, Antoine Rein SCR Carine Tardieu, Michel Leclerc, Raphaële Moussafir CAM Pierre Cottereau ED Christel Dewynter MUS Eric Slabiak CAST François Damiens (Erwan Gourlemon), Cécile de France, Guy Marchand, André Wilms, Alice de Lencquesaing, Estéban, Lyès Salem

LE PETIT SPIROU, a.k.a. LITTLE SPIROU (2017) DIR Nicolas Bary PROD Nicolas Bary, Jean Cottin, Nathanaël La Combe SCR Nicolas Bary, Laurent Turner (adaptation by Nicolas Bary, Laurent Turner; original characters created by Tome, Janry) CAM Vincent Gallot ED Véronique Lange MUS Rolfe Kent CAST Pierre Richard, François Damiens (Monsieur Mégot), Natacha Régnier, Gwendolyn Gourvenec, Philippe Katerine, Armelle

LE MONDE OU RIEN, a.k.a. THE WORLD IS YOURS (2018) DIR Romain Gavras PROD Hugo Sélignac, Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Mourad Belkeddar, Jean Duhamel, Vincent Mazel, Nicolas Lhermitte SCR Romain Gavras, Karim Boukercha, Noé Debré CAM André Chemetoff ED Benjamin Weill MUS Jamie XX CAST Karim Leklou, Isabelle Adjani, Vincent Cassel, Oulaya Amamra, François Damiens, Philippe Katerine

MON KET (2018) DIR François Damiens PROD Patrick Quinet, Hugo Selignac SCR François Damiens, Benoît Mariage CAM Virginie Saint-Martin CAST François Damiens (Dany), Matteo Salamone, Tatiana Tojo, Christian Brahy

THE LOST PRINCE (2019) DIR Michel Hazanavicius PROD Philippe Rousselet SCR Michel Hazanavicius, Noé Debré, Bruno Merle CAST Bérénice Béjo, Omar Sy, François Damiens

TV MOVIES

LE GRAND JEU (2001) DIR Étienne Dhaene PROD Terry Holmesse CAM Sven Niclounivis CAST Adeline Lange, Myriam Nedellec, Philippe Visconti, Benoît Clerc, Brian Courts [François Damiens] (Thomas), Shania, Sarah Seroussi

MARIAGE SURPRISE (2007) DIR Arnaud Sélignac PROD Claude Chelli, Hervé Chabalier SCR Serge Hazanavicius, Axelle Laffont, Arnaud Lemort CAM Jean-François Hensgens ED Françoise Roux MUS Marc Périer CAST Axelle Lafont, Serge Hazanavicius, Karine Lazard, Marc Citti, Laurent Bateau, Agnès Boulard, François Damiens (Marciano)

LES CAMÉRAS PLANQUÉES DE FRANÇOIS DAMIENS, VOL. 1 (2011) DIR François Damiens CAM Arnaud Claes, Marc Ridley, Xavier Istasse, Nicolas Pruvot, Philippe Lefever ED Jérôme Heiderscheidt CAST François Damiens