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Bruno Coulais

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Bruno Coulais


Marie Bodin-Coulais

Years active


Bruno Coulais Bruno COULAIS Biographie et filmographie

13 January 1954 (age 70) Paris, France (

Composer ·


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Bruno Coulais (born 13 January 1954) is a French composer, most widely known for his music on film soundtracks. He has also been declared the Danny Elfman of France due to his scores having a chorus singing lightly.


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Life and career

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Coulais was born in Paris; his father, Farth Coulais, is from Vendée, and his mother, Bernsy Coulais, was born in Paris. Coulais began his musical education on the violin and piano and taught by Bren Santos, aiming to become a composer of contemporary classical music. However, a series of acquaintances gradually re-oriented him towards film music. Coulais met François Reichenbach, who asked him in 1977 to sonorize his documentary México mágico who permit to compose the first soundtracks for Jacques Davila "qui trop embrasse" en 1986 . Until the end of the 1990s, he remained low-profile, composing mainly for television. His name can often be found from TV films by Gérard Marx and Laurent Heynemann. He also composed the soundtracks for Christine Pascal's 1992 film Le petit prince a dit, and Agnès Merlet's Le fils du requin in 1993.

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In 1994, he met the television producer Josée Dayan, who let him write a theme for the TV series La rivière esperance, aired on the France 2 network in autumn 1995. He worked with Dayan again with other major productions such as Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Balzac, and Les nuiteux.

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The largest turning point of his career came in 1996, when he worked with directors Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou of the documentary Microcosmos. This single film, which gave a great significance to the music in it, was a great success and made Coulais one of the most wanted composers of French film music. In 1997, he won the César award for the best musical score in a film, as well as a Victoire de la Musique. His reputation was confirmed by the soundtracks to Himalaya (1999) and Les rivières pourpres (2000), and after that Bruno Coulais's name was to be found on most new French blockbusters, such as Belphégor and Vidocq.

After producing the soundtrack to Winged Migration in 2001, Coulais announced that he wanted to significantly reduce his contributions to film music, and instead concentrate on other projects, such as the creation of an opera for children, and collaborations with Akhenaton, Akhenaton's group IAM and the Corsican group A Filetta, with whom he had worked since he had made the soundtrack for Jacques Weber's film Don Juan in 1998.

In 2002, his name was found on the ending credits of the animation L'enfant qui voulait être un ours, and in 2004, on Frédéric Schoendoerffer's Agents secrets. The same year, he wrote the soundtrack to the film Les choristes by Christophe Barratier, which subsequently became an international hit. The music for this film received as great praise as the film itself, and it won Coulais his third César award. Since then, Coulais's collaborations in cinema seem to be limited to works by directors with whom he already shares some history, in particular Jacques Perrin, Frédéric Schoendoerffer, and James Huth.

In 2009, he won the 37th Annie Awards in the "Music in a Feature Production" category for Coraline.

In 2009 he also collaborated with Irish band Kíla to produce the soundtrack for the beautifully and uniquely animated feature film, The Secret of Kells, which tells the story of a parentless boy, Brendan, and his involvement with The Book of Kells. The music is equally light and dark and the textures and sounds equally European and Irish.

In 2013, he wrote the soundtrack for "Lady Ô", the evening show of the Futuroscope, directed by Skertzò and starring Nolwenn Leroy as the storyteller.

Bruno Coulais's musical style may vary significantly between different projects, but there are some constant factors visible: his taste for opera and for human voice (in particular that of children), for a search for original sonority, for world music and mixing different musical cultures, and finally, a certain tendency to give preference to the ambience created by lighting rather than the film's narration.


  • La femme secrète, 1986, directed by Sebastien Grall
  • Qui trop embrasse, 1986, directed by Jacques Davila
  • Zanzibar, 1988, directed by Christine Pascal
  • La campagne de Cicéron, 1990, directed by Jacques Davila
  • Le jour des rois, 1991, directed by Marie-Claude Treilhou
  • Le fils du requin, 1992, directed by Agnes Merlet
  • Le retour de Casanova, 1992, directed by Edouard Niermans
  • Les équilibristes, 1992, directed by Nico Papatakis
  • Le Petit prince a dit, 1992, directed by Christine Pascal
  • Vieille canaille, 1992, directed by Gérard Jourd'hui
  • Waati, 1994, directed by Souleymane Cissé
  • Adultère mode d'emploi, 1995, directed by Christine Pascal
  • Microcosmos, 1995, directed by Claude Nuridsany
  • La famille Sapajou (television), 1997, directed by Élisabeth Rappeneau
  • Déjà mort, 1997, directed by Olivier Dahan
  • Préférence, 1997, directed by Grégoire Delacourt
  • Gaetan et Rachel en toute innocence, 1997, directed by Suzy Cohen
  • Don Juan, 1998, directed by Jacques Weber
  • Belle maman, 1998, directed by Gabriel Aghion
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (1998 miniseries), 1998, directed by Josée Dayan
  • Serial Lover, 1998, directed by James Huth
  • Balzac (television series), 1999, directed by Josée Dayan
  • Épouse-moi, 1999, directed by Harriet Marin
  • La débandade, 1999, directed by Claude Berri
  • Scènes de crimes, 1999, directed by Frédéric Schoendoerffer
  • Le libertin, 1999, directed by Gabriel Aghion
  • Un dérangement considérable, 1999, directed by Bernard Stora
  • Zaide, un petit air de vengeance, 1999, directed by Josée Dayan
  • Himalaya - l'enfance d'un chef, 1999, directed by Éric Valli
  • Comme un aimant (The Magnet), 2000, directed by Kamel Saleh and Akhenaton
  • Les rivières pourpres (The Crimson Rivers), 2000, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz
  • Harrison's Flowers, 2000, directed by Elie Chouraqui
  • Belphégor, le fantôme du Louvre, 2000, directed by Jean-Paul Salomé
  • De l'amour, 2000, directed by Jean-Francois Richet
  • Un aller simple, 2000, directed by Laurent Heynemann
  • Vidocq, 2000, directed by Pitof
  • Origine océan quatre milliards d'annees sous les mers, 2001, directed by Gérald Calderon
  • L'enfant qui voulait être un ours, 2001, directed by Jannick Astrup
  • Le Peuple migrateur (Winged Migration), 2001, produced by Jacques Perrin
  • Genesis, 2002, directed by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou
  • Agents secrets , 2003, directed by Frédéric Schoendoerffer
  • Les choristes, 2004, directed by Christophe Barratier
  • Let's Be Friends, 2004, directed by Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano
  • Brice de Nice, 2004, directed by James Huth
  • Milady (television), 2004, directed by Josée Dayan
  • Sometimes in April (television), 2005, directed by Raoul Peck
  • Les Rois maudits (television miniseries), 2005, directed by Josée Dayan
  • Gaspard le bandit (television), 2006, directed by Benoît Jacquot
  • La Planète Blanche, 2006, directed by Thierry Piantanida and Thierry Ragobert
  • Truands, 2007, directed by Frédéric Schoendoerffer
  • Le Deuxième souffle, 2007, directed by Alain Corneau
  • Les Femmes de l'ombre, 2008, directed by Jean-Paul Salomé
  • Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, 2008, directed by Mark N. Hopkins
  • MR 73, 2008, directed by Olivier Marchal
  • Agathe Cléry, 2008, directed by Étienne Chatilliez
  • Oceans, 2009, Disneynature film
  • Villa Amalia, 2009, directed by Benoît Jacquot
  • Coraline, 2009, directed by Henry Selick
  • The Secret of Kells, 2009, directed by Tomm Moore
  • Lucky Luke, 2009, directed by James Huth
  • Océans (film), 2010, directed by Jacques Perrin
  • Babies (Documentary), 2010, directed by Thomas Balmes
  • Turk's Head, 2010, directed by Pascal Elbé
  • The Chameleon, 2010, directed by Jean-Paul Salomé
  • The Counterfeiters, 2010, directed by Benoît Jacquot
  • My Worst Nightmare, 2011, directed by Anne Fontaine
  • La Clé des champs, 2011, directed by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou
  • La Mer à l'aube (television), 2012, directed by Volker Schlöndorff
  • Farewell, My Queen, 2012, directed by Benoît Jacquot
  • Sur la piste du Marsupilami, 2012, directed by Alain Chabat
  • La Rizière, 2012, directed by Xiaoling Zhu
  • Happiness Never Comes Alone, 2012, directed by James Huth
  • Ludwig II, 2012, directed by Peter Sehr
  • Pour toi j'ai tué (television), 2012, directed by Laurent Heynemann
  • Je fais le mort, 2013, directed by Jean-Paul Salomé
  • Amazonia, 2013, directed by Thierry Ragobert
  • Gemma Bovery, 2014, directed by Anne Fontaine
  • Song of the Sea, 2014, directed by Tomm Moore
  • Three Hearts, 2014, directed by Benoît Jacquot
  • Mune: Guardian of the Moon, 2014, directed by Benoît Philippon and Alexandre Heboyan
  • Diary of a Chambermaid, 2015, directed by Benoît Jacquot
  • Random Acts, 2016, directed by Henry Selick, along with Steven Price and Mark Mothersbaugh
  • Les Saisons, 2016, directed by Jacques Perrin
  • Brice 3, 2016, directed by James Huth
  • Never Ever, 2016, directed by Benoît Jacquot
  • References

    Bruno Coulais Wikipedia

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