Costa-Gavras: “Film is a perfect way to communicate with the audience”

Some people don’t age. Take film the legendary film director and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Costa-Gavras, for example. He turned 90 last month and still is very bright, sharp, and energetic as someone half his age—or even younger. He’s an icon of activist cinema and one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, and since his debut as a film director with “Compartiment tueurs” (1965), he’s been one of French cinema’s most prolific filmmakers who has worked on both sides of the Atlantic—with much success, appreciation, and critical acclaim.

His early and formative years in his native Greece, though, when he was exposed to mostly Westerns and Errol Flynn movies, were very rough. After the German occupation of Greece during World War II, his father, a resistance fighter suspected of communism, was imprisoned during the country’s civil war, which lasted up until 1949, and as a result, Costa-Gavras was denied the right to higher education.

An avid moviegoer in his native country, he attempted to immigrate to the U.S. but, in the climate of the McCarthy era, he was denied a visa, so then he left for Paris in 1953, where he enrolled at the Sorbonne to study literature. After seeing Erich von Stroheim’s screen classic “Greed” (1924) at the Cinémathèque française, he realized that film was not just entertainment, it was also a way to say something substantially, and he switched to the French film school IDHEC (Institut des hautes études cinématographiques).

A French resident ever since and filmmaker since the mid-1960s who from time to time was lured to Hollywood and so far made six English-language films—working with actors such as Jack Lemmon, Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Debra Winger, Jessica Lange—he gained international recognition and worldwide fame with his second feature, the fast-paced political thriller “Z” (1969) which, among others, earned two Academy Awards (‘Best Editing’ and ‘Best Foreign Language Film’). His career was launched, and over the years, Mr. Gavras became one of the screen’s most prominent filmmakers, making films often associated with political subjects.

His first English-language film, “Missing” (1982), earned him an Academy Award in the category ‘Best Writing—Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium,’ based on the book “The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice” (1978) by Thomas Hauser. Jack Lemmon starred as a father in search of his missing son in a Latin American country.

“Missing” (1982, trailer)

His other—all highly acclaimed—English-language films are “Hanna K.” (1983), “Betrayed” (1988), “Music Box” (1989), “Mad City” (1997), and “Amen” (2002).

Mr. Gavras is the recipient of some of the most important film awards. Not only did he win an Oscar for “Missing,” but also a BAFTA (screenplay “Missing”), a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival (“Missing”), and two Césars (screenplays “Amen.” in 2003, and “Adults in the Room,” 2019). He was also nominated twice for an Academy Award for “Z” (1969) in the categories ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.’

In 1968, Mr. Gavras married Michèle Ray, a former Chanel model who became a war correspondent and spent three weeks in Vietcong captivity during the Vietnam War; their two children, Julie Gavras and Romain Gavras, are also filmmakers. Since the mid-1970s, Mrs. Gavras has co-produced several of her husband’s films.

Because of the highly successful Romy Schneider Exhibition in Brussels, Mr. Gavras came over to the Cinema Palace in Brussels to introduce a screening of “Clair de femme” (1979, a.k.a. Womanlighting”) starring Romy Schneider, followed by a Q & A. That same evening, I got to sit down with the legendary filmmaker to talk about his craft as a screenwriter and film director. The interview was conducted in French.

“Clair de femme” (1979, a.k.a. “Womanlighting,” trailer)

The Romy Schneider Exhibition will also welcome other guests in the upcoming days. On Tuesday, April 4, Sarah Baisini, Romy Schneider’s daughter, will present “César et Rosalie” (1972) to the audience. Two days later, on April 6, the Belgian and international actress Lubna Azabal will explain what makes “Le vieux fusil” (1975) such a precious film, and on April 12, it’s director Joachim Lafosse’s turn as he will present “L’enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot” (2009).

Mr. Gavras, how do you remember Romy Schneider and working with her when you made “Claire de femme”?

I met her when Henri-Georges Clouzot was preparing “L’enfer” [1964, a.k.a. “Inferno”] for her, and she told me, ‘If you ever become a film director, I would like to make a film with you.’ Years later, when I was a film director, we met again, and we still wanted to make a film together. After I had read Romain Gary’s novel “Clair de femme” [1977], I thought it would make a great film, and I contacted her again. That’s how it all began. “Clair de femme” is a love story, but at the same time, it’s not. It could be a love story one day, but you don’t know for sure. It’s about two people who are unhappy and very unfortunate; that brings them together. So they get together and interact. They love each other in a certain way, but there’s no passionate love. It’s up to the audience to decide how they can work it out, and that’s what interested me: how can those two characters in pain connect with the audience? So it’s not a traditional love story. Yves Montand agreed to play the part right away, and when I suggested Romy play Lydia’s role, she asked me, ‘Do you want to make this film for Montand, or me?’ I told her, ‘For both of you, and also because of the story.’ When we shot the film, we got along very well, and so did Yves and Romy, as they had worked before already [“César et Rosalie,” 1972]. Romy was a very professional and skilled actress; she asked me a lot of questions and often wrote me notes when we finished shooting in the evening—also while I was preparing a scene, for example—and it was fascinating to see how she was absorbed by the story. I don’t know if she also wrote notes to other film directors; maybe she was attracted to this story in a particular way. But it was fascinating to work with her. It was quite different with Yves Montand because we had made several films together and knew each other very well.

What made Romy Schneider so exceptional as an actress?

She was very interested in the story. After we had finished shooting in the evening, everybody went home, and she wrote me those notes that she gave me the next day. She was intrigued by the story and wanted to play her character perfectly—the way she moved, behaved, and talked, she knew how to portray her character.

Costa-Gavras during the Q & A after the screening of “Clair de femme” (1979) starring Yves Montand and Romy Schneider | Film Talk

Actors often have different acting styles and working methods. Is there also a difference between European and American actors that you should know about as a film director before you start shooting?

Not really. The only difference is the language [laughs]. When you’re on set and talk with the actors about a scene and how it should play out, in the end, it’s the director who needs to make the final decision. I always make sure the actors know that from the beginning; even before they accept their part, I tell them that’s how I work. And they’re always okay with it—always. For me, that’s the best way to collaborate with them. Very often, actors come up with very interesting ideas or look at it from another angle, and that’s why I always like to listen to what they have to say. Actors are intelligent and sensible, and most of the time, they don’t think about their ego or how the audience will judge their role or performance; they simply focus on their character. Some actors like to play their roles the way the audience likes to see them. They keep on repeating themselves, so those characters are not valuable to the story you’re telling. They create and recreate their personality. John Wayne, for example, appeared in several great films, but he was always John Wayne in every film he made. Jean Gabin too, but he was very subtle. He played Gabin, and if necessary, he tried to adjust the story in terms of his character. But very often, he played Gabin because that’s what the people who went to the movies wanted to see.

Is it correct to say that you are a European filmmaker who makes world cinema?

I would instead consider myself a French film director because I learned my craft in France. On the other hand, I don’t make films like French film directors do because coming from Greece, I have a different background and another view since I don’t have this traditional historical French background. So those two identities define who I am and the films I make: I am French, but when I first arrived in France, my intellectual background was different, and that’s something you can’t change. It’s in your head, in your brain, in your heart. It’s not like if you’d take off your coat and put on another one. It doesn’t work like that.

“Z” (1969, trailer)

Was it a big step for you when you made your American films in the 1980s and 1990s? Because that’s yet another culture and another film industry.

No. They asked me early on to make films in the U.S., even after my third film, “Z” [1969]. But I always turned them down until I did my first American film, “Missing” [1982], because that story interested me tremendously. It was set in Chili, a country that I knew well. So I told the producer I would do it, on two conditions. I would write the screenplay, with an American because it was written in English, and I also wanted to do the entire post-production in France—and they agreed. That’s how I worked on every American film I did. We shot the films in America—in New York, Chicago, etc.—and I also wanted to work without any interference, so I could make the film that I wanted to make. If they wanted the film to look American, they didn’t need me; they could have hired an American director. So I wanted total autonomy—screenplay, editing, even casting. Of course, you talk about the editing, casting… When I was casting for “Missing,” I told them I wanted Jack Lemmon. And they said to me, ‘Why would you want Jack Lemmon? He makes comedies!’ I explained to them why I wanted him, but they didn’t like the idea. I insisted, and then the producer said, ‘Let’s see how that works.’ Later on, they were delighted, and Jack Lemmon won several awards for his role. So that’s how I made my four American films.

You just talked about your screenplays. You’re not only an august film director but also a very accomplished screenwriter. Is it easy, or maybe very logical, to combine both?

I can’t separate them. If you’re only a film director, you’re like an illustrator. You illustrate someone else’s story. If you like to tell a story that touches you, you need to work on the screenplay as well—maybe in collaboration with others, although I did a number of screenplays and adaptations on my own. But mostly, I like to work with someone else so you can exchange ideas and broaden your view. But I don’t like to make films that I didn’t write. When you write, you create the characters, and that’s crucial when you want to tell a story. So I need to be involved in that stage as well.

When you’re so closely involved with the whole project, when do you know that a scene you just shot is perfect and the way you want it…

…that’s exactly why writing is so crucial to me. When I’m working on a screenplay, I imagine what I’ll be shooting, the characters, the location—everything. I take precise notes and talk about them with the actors. Depending on what the actors suggest, things can change, or the location might look different. But generally, the film is even made before I start shooting. And when I’m shooting, I think about editing because that’s when you write the film for the last time. That’s the final version. So the screenplay can be adjusted along the way, depending on the actors, the cinematography, and the circumstances. But the basic concept—why you want to make the film and what you are telling—that doesn’t change. A screenplay is like a plan designed by an architect; you can move the furniture in the living room, but you can’t move the walls in a building—meaning that the work of a film director and an architect is done on paper. It would be best if you were consistent in what you do with it when you’re shooting and editing.

What film of yours would you consider the most difficult one you have done so far?

[Pauzes]. Each one has its own difficulties, but if you want me to give an example, there are two films, basically. The first one is “L’aveu” [1970, a.k.a. “The Confession,” about the 1952 show trial in Prague against Rudolf Slánský and other leading members of the Communist Party in former Czechoslovakia]. The screenplay that I had written with Jorge Semprún was fine, but when we began casting, several actors objected because they considered it anti-communist, and others did not approve of the story. When that happens early on, you must be very convinced of what you’re doing and the film you’re trying to make. And then you have to reassure the actors about the characters they’re playing—some evil characters because of their beliefs and opinions—and that was difficult. The other film was “Betrayed” [1988, with racism as the film’s main issue, based upon the terrorist activities of an American neo-Nazi supremacist and his group]. That film portrayed an image that a lot of people couldn’t believe it existed in the U.S. They thought it was a European prejudgement that was wrong, totally anti-American. I traveled a lot with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas in Nebraska, Idaho, among others, and we met those people. We talked and discussed with them. Those people were very kind and very sympathetic, but when you talked to them about Afro-Americans or Jews, they reacted in a very negative way. It didn’t affect the shooting process of the film, but emotionally it had an impact; you had to deal with it when you made the film.

And what was the most fun set you ever worked on?

[Laughs]. You know, I always want people to have fun when we’re making a film. Also, when it’s a difficult film or a serious subject we’re talking about, I want the cast and crew to have fun and make them work in an atmosphere where everybody gets along as friends. There may be tensions, but those moments are very rare. So I like this friendly and relaxed atmosphere where everybody enjoys what they’re doing. Once they’re all on board and have made their suggestions, it’s very important that they realize they’re all working towards one common goal, to get the director’s view up there on the screen. So far, it always worked out, and we had a great time. I made several films with Yves Montand, and he always had a lot of fun on set. He got along with everybody and was very patient, courteous and was amused if the cinematographer asked him to wait a moment because he needed to adjust the lights, for example. Before I became a director, I was an assistant director and worked with some directors that were very tough on their crew; at the end of the day, you were glad it was over. That’s something I always wanted to avoid.

Costa-Gavras during his visit to Brussels | Film Talk

You just mentioned Yves Montand. Do you remember the first time you met him?

Absolutely, also the first scene I did with him in my first film as a director [“Compartiment tueurs,” 1965]. The producers were very worried; it was my debut film as a director, and the cast included many big names [such as Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Michel Piccoli, and Cathérine Allégret]. In the beginning, they didn’t think it was a good idea if I would direct that film. So they told me to work with this cinematographer, that editor… They were very worried; when we did the first scene, Yves Montand visited Simone Signoret, and his character met Simone Signoret’s character for the first time. It was an easy scene to shoot, and I was a little bit too late. But Montand told the producer, ‘Just let the director do his job.’ He created mutual trust, which is very important for a director. “Compartiment tueurs” was very well received, and gradually we became good friends.

In the 1970s, you made only a few films and had a four-year-hiatus between “Section spéciale” [1975, a.k.a. “Special Section”] and your next film, “Clair de femme” [1979]. Was there any particular reason for that?

I worked on various interesting ideas or adapted a book and tried to finance them, but your next film should be something different when you tell a human and social story. You don’t want to repeat yourself. So it’s not always easy to find the right project. Also, I never want to make a film just for the sake of making a film. I want any new film to be relevant and interesting, and it needs to affect and touch me. Also, I was offered screenplays that I turned down because they didn’t interest me.

With your experience as a veteran filmmaker, what is, in your opinion, the strength of film?

Film is a perfect way to communicate with the audience; you can tell the audience something you want to share with them. And if they want, they will respond. Sometimes they don’t respond because they’re not interested, but cinema is a perfect way to dialogue with others. In all the great films that have been made, you see what society is like, and what happens in the world; you see characters and what happens in their lives. It can also be done in comedy—look at Charlie Chaplin—but what he shows in “Modern Times” [1936] still happens today. That makes a film a very powerful and essential tool to tell a good story.

Cinema Palace, Brussels
March 30, 2023

In 2018 Mr. Gavras was the recipient of the European Film Academy’s Honorary Award


CRÉSUS (1960) DIR – SCR Jean Giono ASST DIR Costa-Gavras, Bernard Paul PROD Andrée Debar CAM Roger Hubert ED Monique Isnardon, Robert Isnardon MUS Joseph Kosma CAST Fernandel, Marcelle Ranson-Hervé, Rellys, René Génin, Miguel Gamy, Edouard Hemme, Paul Préboist, Jeanne Pérez

TOUT L’OR DU MONDE, a.k.a. ALL THE GOLD IN THE WORLD (1961) DIR René Clair ASST DIR Costa-Gavras, Claude Pinoteau PROD René Clair, Guido Giambartolomei, Georges Lourau, Angelo Rizzoli SCR René Clair (adaptation by René Clair, Jean Marsan, Jacques Rémy) CAM Pierre Petit ED Louisette Hautecoeur MUS Georges Van Parys CAST Bourvil, Alfred Adam, Philippe Noiret, Claude Rich, Colette Castel, Annie Fratellini, Nicole Chollet, Max Elloy, Françoise Dorléac

UN SINGE EN HIVER, a.k.a. A MONKEY IN WINTER (1962) DIR Henri Verneuil ASST DIR Costa-Gavras, Claude Pinoteau PROD Jacques Bar SCR Henri Verneuil (dialogue by Michel Audiard; adaptation by François Boyer; novel by Antoine Blondin) CAM Louis Page ED Françoise Bonnot, Monique Bonnot MUS Michel Magne CAST Jean Gabin, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Suzanne Flon, Gabrielle Dorziat, Hella Petri, Marcelle Arnold, Charles Bouillaud, Henri Verneuil

LA BAIE DES ANGES, a.k.a. BAY OF ANGELS (1963) DIR – SCR Jacques Demy ASST DIR Costa-Gavras, Gérald Duduyer PROD Paul-Edmond Decharme CAM Jean Rabier ED Anne-Marie Cotret MUS Michel Legrand CAST Jeanne Moreau, Claude Mann, Paul Guers, Henri Nassiet, André Certes, Nicole Chollet, Georges Alban, Conchita Parodi

LE JOUR ET L’HEURE, a.k.a. THE DAY AND THE HOUR and TODAY WE LIVE (1963) DIR René Clément ASST DIR Costa-Gavras, Claude Pinoteau PROD Jacques Bar SCR André Barret (adaptation by René Clément, Roger Vailland) CAM Henri Decaë ED Fedora Zincone MUS Claude Bolling CAST Simone Signoret, Stuart Whitman, Geneviève Page, Michel Piccoli, Reggie Nadler, Pierre Dux

ÉCHAPPEMENT LIBRE, a.k.a. BACKFIRE (1964) DIR Jean Becker ASST DIR Costa-Gavras, Emilio Martos SCR (adaptation by Jean Becker, Didier Goulard, Maurice Fabre; novel by Clet Coroner) CAM Edmond Séchan ED Monique Kirsanoff MUS Martial Solal CAST Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Enrico Maria Salerno, Renate Ewert, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Wolfgang Preiss, Fernando Rey, Gert Fröbe

LES FÉLINS, a.k.a. JOY HOUSE and THE LOVE CAGE (1964) DIR René Clément ASST DIR Costa-Gavras, Bernard Paul PROD Jacques Bar SCR René Clément, Pascal Jardin CAM Henri Decaë ED Fedora Zincone MUS Lalo Schifrin CAST Alain Delon, Jane Fonda, Lola Albright, Sorrell Brooke, Carl Studer, André Oumansky

COMPARTIMENT TUEURS, a.k.a. THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER (1965) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Julien Derode SCR Costa-Gavras, Sébastien Japrisot (adaptation by Costa-Gavras; novel by Sébastien Japrisot) CAM Jean Tournier ED Christian Gaudin MUS Michel Magne CAST Catherine Allégret, Jacques Perrin, Simone Signoret, Michel Piccoli, Pascale Roberts, Yves Montand, Claude Mann, Pierre Mondy, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Charles Drenner, Claude Berri

1 HOMME DE TROP, a.k.a. ONE MAN TOO MANY (1967) DIR – PROD Costa-Gavras SCR Costa-Gavras (novel by Jean-Pierre Chabrol) CAM Jean Tournier ED Christian Gaudin MUS Michel Magne CAST Jean-Claude Brialy, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Perrin, Gerard Blain, Claude Brasseur, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrier, Charles Vanel

Z (1969) DIR Costa-Gavras SCR Costa-Gavras, Ben Barzman [uncredited] (dialogue by Jorge Semprún; novel by Vasilis Vasilikos) CAM Raoul Coutard ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Mikis Theodorakis CAST Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Charles Drenner, Georges Geret, Jacques Perrin, François Perier, Bernard Fresson, Marcel Bozzufi, Renato Salvatori, Raoul Coutard

L’AVEU, a.k.a. THE CONFESSION (1970) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Bertrand Javal, Robert Dorfmann SCR Jorge Semprún (book by Lise London, Artur London) CAM Raoul Coutard ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Giovanni Fusco CAST Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Gabrielle Ferzetti, Michel Vitold, Jean Bouise, László Szabó, Monique Chaumette, Guy Mairesse

ÉTAT DE SIÈGE, a.k.a. STATE OF SIEGE (1972) DIR Costa-Gavras SCR Franco Solinas (original screenplay by Costa-Gavras, Franco Solinas) CAM Pierre-William Glenn ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Mikis Theodorakis CAST Yves Montand, Renato Salvatori, O. E. Hasse, Jacques Weber, Jean-Luc Bideau, Maurice Teynac, Yvette Etiévant

SECTION SPÉCIALE, a.k.a. SPECIAL SECTION (1975) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Costa-Gavras [uncredited], Jacques Perrin, Giorgio Silvagni SCR Costa-Gavras, Jorge Semprún (book by Hervé Villeré) CAM Andréas Winding ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Éric Demarsan CAST Louis Seigner, Michel Lonsdale, Ivo Garrani, François Maistre, Jacques Spiesser, Henri Serre, Heinz Bennent, Michel Galabru, Bruno Cremer, Costa-Gavras, Yves Montand

CLAIR DE FEMME, a.k.a. WOMANLIGHT (1979) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Georges Alain-Vuille, Mauro Berardi SCR Costa-Gavras (novel by Romain Gary) CAM Ricardo Aronovich ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Jean Musy CAST Yves Montand, Romy Schneider, Romolo Valli, Lila Kedrova, Heinz Bennent, Roberto Begnini, Catherine Allégret, Jean Reno

MISSING (1982) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Mildred Lewis SCR Costa-Gavras, Donald Stewart (book by Thomas Hauser) CAM Ricardo Aronovich ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Vangelis CAST Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, Charles Cioffi, David Clennon, Richard Venture, Jerry Hardin

HANNA K. (1983) DIR Costa-Gavras EXEC PROD Michèle Costa-Gavras, Robert Cortes SCR Franco Salinas (orginal screenplay by Costa-Gavras, Franco Salinas) CAM Ricardo Aronovich ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Gabriel Yared CAST Jill Clayburgh, Jean Yanne, Gabriel Byrne, Mohammad Bakri, David Clennon, Shimon Finkel, Oded Kotler, Michal Bat-Adam

LE THÉ AU HAREM D’ARCHIMÈDE, a.k.a. TEA IN THE HAREM (1985) DIR Mehdi Charef PROD Costa-Gavras, Michèle Costa-Gavras SCR Mehdi Charef (also novel) CAM Dominique Chapuis ED Kenout Peltier MUS Karim Kacel CAST Rémi Martin, Kader Boukhanef, Laure Duthilleul, Saïda Bekkouche, Nicole Hiss, Brahim Ghemain, Nathalie Jadot

SPIES LIKE US (1985) DIR John Landis PROD George Folsey Jr., Brian Glazer SCR Dan Aykroyd, Babaloo Mandel, Lowell Ganz (story by Dan Aykroyd, Dave Thomas) CAM Robert Paynter ED Malcolm Campbell MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Forrest, Donna Dixon, Bruce Davison, Bernie Casey, William Prince, Tom Hatten, Frank Oz, Terry Gilliam, Costa-Gavras (Highway Patrol Officer), Ray Harryhausen, Bob Hope, Joel Coen, Sam Raimi, Michael Apted, Martin Brest, Bob Swaim

CONSEIL DE FAMILLE, a.k.a. FAMILY COUNCIL and FAMILY BUSINESS (1986) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Michèle Costa-Gavras SCR Costa-Gavras (novel by Francis Ryck) CAM Robert Azalraki ED Marie-Sophie Dubus MUS Georges Delerue CAST Johnny Hallyday, Fanny Ardant, Guy Marchand, Laurent Romer, Rémi Martin, Juliette Rennes, Caroline Pochon, Ann-Gisel Glass, Fabrice Lichini

BETRAYED (1988) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Irwin Winkler SCR Joe Eszterhas CAM Patrick Blossier ED Joële Van Effenterre MUS Bill Conti CAST Debra Winger, Tom Berenger, John Heard, Betsy Blair, John Mahoney, Ted Levine, Jeffrey DeMunn, David Clennon, Timothy Hutton

MUSIC BOX (1989) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Irwin Winkler SCR Joe Eszterhas CAM Patrick Blossier ED Joële Van Effenterre MUS Philippe Sarde CAST Jessica Lange, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Frederic Forrest, Donald Moffat, Lukas Haas, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Mari Töröcsik, J. S. Block

PLEURE PAS MY LOVE (1989) DIR Tony Gatlif PROD Costa-Gavras SCR Tony Gatlif, Marie-Hélène Rudel CAM Jacques Loiseleux ED Claudine Bouché MUS Raymond Alessandrini CAST Fanny Ardant, Jean-Pierre Sentier, Rémi Martin, László Szabó, Mylène, Ysabelle Lacamp, Henru Déus, Fred Personne

LA PETITE APOCALYPSE, a.k.a. THE LITTLE APOCALYPSE (1993) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Michèle Costa-Gavras SCR Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg (novel by Tadeusz Konwicki) CAM Patrick Blossier ED Joële Van Effenterre MUS Philippe Sarde CAST André Dussollier, Pierre Arditi, Jiri Menzel, Anna Romantowska, Maurice Bénichou, Carlo Brandt, Henryk Bista, Jean-Claude Grumberg, Julie Gayet

THE STUPIDS (1996) DIR John Landis PROD Leslie Belzberg SCR Brent Forrester (characters created by James Marshall, Harry Allard) CAM Manfred Guthe ED Dale Beldin MUS Christopher L. Stone CAST Tom Arnold, Jessica Lundy, Bug Hall, Alex McKenna, Mark Metcalf, Matt Keeslar, Scott Kraft, Max Landis, David Cronenberg, Costa-Gavras (Gas Station Guy), Robert Wise, Christopher Lee, Norman Jewison

MAD CITY (1997) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Anne Kopelson, Arnold Kopelson SCR Tom Matthews (story by Tom Matthews, Eric Williams) CAM Patrick Blossier ED Françoise Bonnot MUS Thomas Newman CAST Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Mia Kirshner, Alan Alda, Robert Prosky, Blythe Danner, William Atherton, Ted Levine, Tammy Lauren

AMEN., a.k.a. EYEWITNESS (2002) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Andrei Boncea EXEC PROD Michèle Costa-Gavras SCR Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg (play by Rolf Hochhuth) CAM Patrick Blossier ED Yannick Kergoat MUS Armand Amar CAST Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulriche Mühe, Michel Duchaussoy, Ion Caramitru, Marcel Iures, Friedrich von Thun

LE COUPERET, a.k.a. THE AX (2005) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Michèle Ray-Gavras SCR Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg (novel by Donald E. Westlake) CAM Patrick Blossier ED Yannick Kergoat MUS Armand Amar CAST José Garcia, Karin Viard, Geordy Monfils, Christa Théret, Ulrich Tukur, Olivier Gourmet, Yvon Back, Thierry Hancisse, Yolande Moreau, John Landis, Julie Gavras, Nabil Ben Yadir, Romain Gavras

MON COLONEL, a.k.a. THE COLONEL (2006) DIR Laurent Herbiet PROD Costa Gavras, Michèle Ray-Gavras, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Salem Brahimi SCR Laurent Herbiet, Jean-Claude Grumberg (story by Costa-Gravras; novel by Francis Zamponi) CAM Patrick Blossier ED Nicole Berckmans MUS Armand Amar CAST Olivier Gourmet, Robinson Stévenin, Cécile de France, Charles Aznavour, Guillaume Gallienne, Bruno Solo, Éric Caravaca, Georges Siatidis

EDEN À L’OUEST, a.k.a. EDEN IS WEST (2009) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Costa-Gavras, Manos Krezias, Jérôme Seydoux SCR Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg CAM Patrick Blossier ED Yannick Kergoat MUS Armand Amar CAST Riccardo Scamarcio, Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos, Léa Wiazemsky, Tess Spentzos, Kristen Ross, Stella-Melina Vasilaki, Jean-Claude Grumberg, Julie Gavras

BURKE AND HARE (2010) DIR John Landis PROD Barnaby Thompson SCR Nick Moorcroft, Piers Ashworth CAM John Mathieson ED Mark Everson MUS Joby Talbot CAST Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Christian Brassington, Gabrielle Downey, Christopher Lee, Ronnie Corbett, Ray Harryhausen, Jenny Agutter, Max Landis, Costa-Gavras, Romain Gavras

LE CAPITAL, a.k.a. CAPITAL (2012) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Michèle Costa-Gavras SCR Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg, Karim Boukercha (novel by Stéphane Osmont) CAM Eric Gautier ED Yannick Kergoat, Yorgos Lamprinos MUS Armand Amar CAST Gad Elmaleh, Gabriel Byrne, Natacha Régnier, Céline Sallette, Liya Kebede, Hippolyte Girardot, Daniel Mesguich, Olga Grumberg

ADULTS IN THE ROOM (2019) DIR Costa-Gavras PROD Michèle Costa-Gavras, Alexandre Gavras, Manos Krezias SCR (adaptation by Costa-Gavras; book by Yanis Varoufakis) CAM Giorgos Arvanitis ED Costa-Gavras, Lambis Haralambidis MUS Alexandre Desplat CAST Christios Loulis, Alexandros Bourdoumis, Ulrich Tukur, Daan Schuurmans, Valeria Golino, Christos Stergioglou