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A conversation with... Marin Karmitz

Friday 17 March, 7pm

On the theme of the Water Lilies, leading figures from the art world are invited to share their admiration for Monet and talk about how they found sources of inspiration in the painter’s work for their own creations. These talks will be led by Philippe Piguet, art historian and journalist.


Marin Karmitz © Benoit Linero pour mk2

Marin Karmitz was born on 7 October 1938. A graduate from the influential IDHEC film school, he was initially assistant director to the filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, Jacques Rozier, Yannick Bellon and Pierre Kast. In 1964 he directed his first short film, Nuit noire Calcutta, based on a screenplay by Marguerite Duras. In 1965 he worked with Samuel Beckett on the adaptation of Comédie. That same year, the film was selected to open the Venice International Film Festival and shocked audiences with its avant-garde material. Forty years later, the film would be recognised at the Venice Biennale, and is today shown in museums around the world. Marin Karmitz’s first feature-length film, in 1967, was Seven Days Somewhere Else, with Jacques Higelin, also selected for the Venice International Film Festival. After May 68, he directed two films: Comrades (1970) and Blow for Blow (1972), which would be screened at all the international festivals.
After founding mk2 Productions in 1967, Marin Karmitz launched a distribution company in 1974. In 40 years, Marin Karmitz produced 108 films and distributed over 350 in theatres: Krzysztof Kieslowski’s trilogy, twelve films by Claude Chabrol, Godard, Resnais, Malle, the Taviani brothers, Angelopoulos, Pintilié, Van Sant, Nossiter, Kerrigan, Loach, Doillon, Lounguine, Kiarostami, Sang Soo, Haneke, Salles, Dolan… These achievements have rightly been recognised: over 150 awards and nominations at the international festivals, including three Palmes d’Or in Cannes, three Golden Lions in Venice, a Golden Bear in Berlin, three Oscar nominations, twenty-five Césars…
Since 1 May 1974, Marin Karmitz has also developed a cinema operation business, reshaping the role of cinema in city life. mk2 is now the third largest chain in Paris with 10 complexes and 65 screens, 6 made-to-measure cinemas and one of the biggest networks in Spain with 9 cinemas and 110 screens.

Alongside his work, Marin Karmitz has addressed the issues facing the film industry through professional bodies, particularly holding the roles of Chairman of the National Federation of Film Distributors (2001–2006), Chairman of the Cinematographic Industries’ Liaison Office (2002–2003), Chairman of the XI Plan’s Cultural Creation, Competitiveness and Social Cohesion Group in 1992, and member of the New Public Television Commission (Copé Commission) in 2008. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, appointed Marin Karmitz as a member of the Council for Artistic Creation between January 2009 and April 2011.
For mk2’s fortieth anniversary in 2014, tributes to Marin Karmitz and the company that he founded were paid around the world, including by New York’s MoMA, the Cinemathèque Suisse, Istanbul Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival, the BFI in London and the Sao Paulo International Film Festival).
Marin Karmitz curated exhibitions in 2009 for Silences at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Strasbourg and at the Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lisbon, and, in 2010, for Traverses at the Rencontres de la photographie in Arles. He has also written the following books: Bande à part, Grasset in 1995; Profession Producteur, Hachette Littérature, 2003; Silences, Editions des Musées de Strasbourg, 2009; Traverses, Editions Actes Sud, 2010 and has just written Comédies with Caroline Broué for éditions Fayard, which he will sign at the end of the talk.