Both an actor and a director, Roschdy Zem is a major figure in French cinema. Alternating between doing art house films and big budget ones, those he chooses to direct have eminently political themes.
Roschdy Zem, whose passions range from sports to the theater, hails from Morocco. In 1987, he appeared as an extra in Les Keufs, even though he had no intention of becoming an actor. After having been spotted a few years later by one of André Techiné’s assistants he landed a few small parts in the films, I don’t kiss and My Favorite Season, all the while being involved in the theater.
It was after he reached thirty that his career really took off, thanks to two noteworthy films, Don’t Forget You are Going to Die by Xavier Beauvois and En avoir / Ou pas which came out in 1995.
As an actor he plays in a wide variety of genres: in social dramas, such as My Little Business by Jolivet for which he was nominated for a César for best supporting actor, in mainstream movies such as The Race and Chouchou, or in psychological dramas such as Ordo.
In 2006 he is awarded Best Male Performance in Cannes, along with his fellow actors for Days of Glory. The same year, he directs his first feature film, Bad Faith, the chronicle of a bicultural couple.
In 2010 the critics raved over his performance in Turk’s Head. In 2011, Roschdy Zem directed his second film, a poignant story inspired by the Omar Raddad affaire, about a gardener, wrongly accused of murdering his employer. The film has been selected as the Moroccan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.