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French actress, film director and screenwriter
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro French actress, film director and screenwriter
Is Actor Film director Screenwriter
From France
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 17 April 1976, Les Lilas, canton of Lilas, arrondissement of Bobigny, Seine-Saint-Denis
Age 44 years
Mother: Catherine Belkhodja
Siblings: Jowan Le BescoKolia Litscher
Spouse: Jean-Yves Le FurLuc Besson
Children: Shanna Besson
The details


Maïwenn (sometimes credited as Maïwenn Besco or her birth name Maïwenn Le Besco, French: [maj.wɛn lə bɛs.ko]; born 17 April 1976) is a French actress, film director and screenwriter.

Early life

17 April 1976 Maïwenn was born as Maïwenn Le Besco in Les Lilas, Seine-Saint-Denis, France. It is a suburb area East of Paris. Maïwenn is of mixed Breton, Vietnamese, French and Algerian descent. Her Algerian ancestry comes from her maternal grandfather. Maïwenn's mother is Catherine Belkhodja.

Life and career

Maïwenn's mother ushered her into the entertainment industry at a young age, an experience later chronicled by Maïwenn in her one-woman shows Le Pois Chiche (The Chickpea) and I'm an Actress. Maïwenn starred in several films as a child, then teen, actress—notably as "Elle, as a child" (the child version of the lead role played by Isabelle Adjani) in the 1983 hit film L'été meurtrier (One Deadly Summer).

The 15 year old Maïwenn met director and producer Luc Besson in 1991. That same year, due to her difficult relationship with her parents, she decided to use only her given name professionally. She and Besson soon began a relationship, and Maïwenn gave birth to their daughter when she was 16. Having lost her motivation as an actress, she interrupted her career for several years, living in Beverly Hills with Besson and raising their daughter. During this period, she only appeared in a supporting part in Besson's Léon (1994), in which she was credited as Ouin-Ouin. She also directed the film's making-of. Perhaps Maïwenn's most internationally-seen film role was her appearance as the alien Diva Plavalaguna in Besson's The Fifth Element (1997).

After her breakup with Luc Besson, Maïwenn returned to France and resumed her career as an actress. She performed as a standup comedian in an autobiographical one-woman-show, and reentered the movie business after several filmmakers saw her comedy routine in Paris. She appeared in several notable movies, including the horror film Haute Tension (English title: High Tension), in which she starred opposite Cécile de France. In 2006, she directed her first feature film, the semi-autobiographical Pardonnez-moi.

Her 2011 film Polisse won the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Her 2015 film Mon roi was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Personal life

In 1991, Maïwenn met director and producer Luc Besson. In January 1993, at age 16, Maïwenn gave birth to daughter Shanna with husband Luc Besson. She was 20 at the beginning of filming (early 1996) for The Fifth Element, during which Besson left her for the film's star, Milla Jovovich.

In 2004, Maïwenn had a son, Diego, with Jean-Yves Le Fur, her second ex-husband who is a real estate developer.


Maïwenn in 2009 at the Deauville American Film Festival.


Year Title Role Director Notes
1981 L'année prochaine... si tout va bien Prune Jean-Loup Hubert
1983 One Deadly Summer The Kid Jean Becker
Cinéma 16 Albine Patrick Saglio TV Series (1 Episode)
Les enquêtes du commissaire Maigret Colette Jean-Paul Sassy TV Series (1 Episode)
1986 State of Grace Jacques Rouffio
1987 Double face The Kid Serge Leroy TV Movie
1988 L'autre nuit Joan Jean-Pierre Limosin
1990 Lacenaire Hermine Francis Girod
La famille Ramdam Christiane Lehérissey TV Series (1 Episode)
1992 La gamine Carole Lambert Hervé Palud
1994 Léon: The Professional Blond Babe Luc Besson
1997 The Fifth Element Diva Plavalaguna Luc Besson (2)
1998 Keskidi ? The Waitress Manuel Pouet Short
Coquillettes Joséphine Flasseur Short
2000 La mécanique des femmes Jérôme de Missolz
Le marquis Gilles Paquet-Brenner Short
2001 8 rue Charlot Bruno Garcia Short
L'oiseau rare Diane Didier Albert TV Movie
2002 Nestor Burma Jade Jacob Berger TV Series (1 Episode)
Caméra Café Irina Katostefia Francis Duquet TV Series (1 Episode)
2003 Osmose A Girl Raphaël Fejtö
High Tension Alexia Alexandre Aja
2004 Les parisiens Shaa Claude Lelouch
I'm an actrice Isabelle Maïwenn Short
2005 Le courage d'aimer Shaa Claude Lelouch
Star Stuff Grégory Hervelin Short
2006 Pardonnez-moi Violette Maïwenn (2) Nominated - César Award for Most Promising Actress
2009 All About Actresses Maïwenn Maïwenn (3) Nominated - Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actress
2011 Polisse Melissa Maïwenn (4)
2012 Télé gaucho Yasmina Michel Leclerc
2013 Love Is the Perfect Crime Anna Arnaud Larrieu & Jean-Marie Larrieu

Director / screenwriter / producer

Year Title Role Box Office Notes
2004 I'm an actrice Director & Writer Short
2006 Pardonnez-moi Director, Writer & Producer Nominated - César Award for Best First Feature Film
2009 All About Actresses Director & Writer $4,948,702
2011 Polisse Director & Writer $20,334,081 Cannes Film Festival - Jury Prize
Lumières Award for Best Director
Cinemania Film Festival - Audience Award
Sarasota Film Festival - Best in World Cinema
Nominated - Cannes Film Festival - Palme d'Or
Nominated - César Award for Best Director
Nominated - César Award for Best Film
Nominated - César Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated - Globes de Cristal Award - Best Film
Nominated - Lumières Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated - Stockholm International Film Festival - Best Film
Nominated - CinEuphoria Award - Best Film - International Competition
Nominated - CinEuphoria Award - Best Director - International Competition
2015 Mon Roi Director & Writer Nominated—César Award for Best Film
Nominated—César Award for Best Director
Nominated - Cannes Film Festival - Palme d'Or
Nominated—Lumières Award for Best Director

Theatrical writer

  • 2003 : Café de la Gare : Le pois chiche
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