Educated at Institut des hautes études cinématographiques.
He was a film-mad kid (a teenager during the New Wave), who went to IDHEC, and began making shorts as he worked as a cartoonist, lie showed an early taste for comedy, but his outstanding work is Monsieur Hire. Taken from a Simenon novel, this is a film of great suspense in which the way of watching is crucial to the drama. It also has exceptional performances from Michel Blanc (normally a comic) and Sandrine Bonnaire.
Next to Hire, The Girl on the Bridge seems a very fanciful construct, clever, promising, and done in beautiful black-and-white, but nowhere near as compelling as the earlier film about voyeurism. But The Widow of St. Pierre (with Julliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil) was back to his best level.
In France, Patrice Leconte now rates very highly as a winner of Césars and as a maker of provocative films. His Ridicule (the only one of his features on which he was not involved as a writer, too) was a modest international success, and a picture that drew attention to wit, language, and the whole art of teasing.
But then, as his next venture, in Une Chance sur Deux, Leconte was acute enough to reunite Delon and Belmondo—but incapable of making a picture that got American release. Yon can propose that Leconte might do anything next—from rare period fable to fairy story to boulevard comedy. But to these eyes, that versatility begins to look like uncertainty.