This year’s Best Director lineup is filled with familiar names for cinephiles: Martin Scorsese and Alexander Payne are old pros at this point, Bradley Cooper has long been famous as an actor, and Jonathan Glazer — despite only making four films — has been a known quantity since 2000’s “Sexy Beast.” That just makes it all the more impressive that in this (very male) lineup, Justine Triet not only made it into the category, but was nominated with a film that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with her heavyweight competitors’ works.
Although Triet made her feature debut “Age of Panic” in 2013, it took her a decade to obtain her true breakout moment when her fourth feature “Anatomy of a Fall” premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2023. Starring a never-better Sandra Hüller as a successful writer who is tried for the sudden death of her husband, a fellow creative, the film is a marital drama in the guise of a courtroom thriller, using the setup to explore the tension and pain that a union between two creatives can cause. (For some interesting parallels between fiction and real life, Triet wrote the movie with her husband, fellow director Arthur Harari, who unlike the husband figure in “Anatomy of a Fall” has not fallen out of a window listening to a steel drum cover of “P.I.M.P.” by 50 Cent.) The film became one of the most acclaimed out of the festival lineup, and Triet won the Palme d’Or at the closing ceremony — making her the third woman to receive the prestigious honor ever.
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Triet was fairly well known in France before “Anatomy of a Fall;” her sophomore film “In Bed With Victoria” received four nominations at the Cesar Awards. But the Palme d’Or win made her considerably better known to American cinephiles, and “Anatomy of a Fall” is competing against buzzy American titles as one of the biggest Oscar contenders this year. In addition to Triet’s Best Director nomination, the film nabbed four other nods, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing.
Looking back at Triet’s other films, it’s clear that exploring women’s relationships with sex, love, and work is where her passion lies. Her first feature “Age of Panic” is a comedy about a reporter who struggles to balance commitments to her ex-husband, her kids, and her job covering the French presidential election. Triet’s sophomore film, “In Bed With Victoria,” focuses on a career-minded lawyer with a sex addiction juggling two love interests and a bitter ex. Given Triet’s interest in dissecting relationship drama in her own work, it’s no surprise that many of her favorite films are intimate movies about marriage and relationships. In interviews, she’s named Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes From a Marriage” — perhaps the ultimate film portrayal of a troubled romantic relationship — as a key influence, and has sung the praises of David Fincher’s romantic thriller “Gone Girl.” Other films Triet has repeatedly recommended include James L. Brooks’ Oscar winner “Terms of Endearment” and the films of French black comedy visionary Sacha Guitry.
In celebration of Triet’s Oscar nomination, IndieWire dove into the films that inspired the “Anatomy of a Fall” director. Films listed here are culled from interviews Triet has given over the years, and are listed in no particular order. Read on for 10 films Justine Triet has championed as her favorites.
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