born Jacqueline Magrah in Amiens on March 10th, 1903
Jacqueline Jacoupy died in Toulouse on December 15th, 1980.
A native of the Picardy region north of Paris, Jacqueline Jacoupy moved to Paris with her family in 1910. She attended private school Sainte Marie in well-to-do Paris suburb Neuilly. In 1925, she married Pierre Jacoupy, graduate of the ivy-league School of Finance and rapidly rose to become inspector of the Société Générale bank. When her young husband died of a heart attack in 1929, Jacqueline Jacoupy found herself alone with the couple's only child, daughter Monique, born in 1926.
Very little is known about her start in film. The program of the Third Congress of the Association for the Photographic and Cinematographic Documentation in Science, organized by Charles Claoué, pioneering plastic surgeon, Jean Painlevé, pioneering science film maker, and Michel Servanne, head of the State Educational Museum, rue d'Ulm in Paris where the congres took place from October 4th to 11th in 1935, included a film entitled Transhumance. Jacqueline Jacoupy and Michel Servanne are credited as the authors-directors of this movie, "shot in reduced format". The film has supposedly disappeared.
Around that time, the name of Jacqueline Jacoupy starts to appear as a film critic and theoretician in various film magazines such as l'Ecran Français and La Revue du Cinéma éducateur.
Then her name started to appear in connection with the production company, l'Ecran Français. In First on the rope (1943) directed by Louis Daquin, Jacqueline Jacoupy is credited as screenwriter, with Paul Leclerc, of Frison Roche's novel. In 1944, still working with l'Ecran Français, Jacqueline Jacoupy had the privilege of directing the production of the film Farrebique, directed by Georges Rouquier, a director whom she would later choose when she started to produce short films on her own just after the war within her independent company, Jacqueline Jacoupy Films.
After the war, the quality of documentary film was hotly debated. In France, commercial film theatres were then obliged to screen, in addition to the news reels, a short documentary before the feature film. This resulted in increasing both demand and public subsidies, and, in turn, in an increasingly motley documentary production. The ensuing debate between filmmakers and critics alike gave rise to a rebirth of the genre.
Jacqueline Jacoupy rallied "The Group of the 30", a loosely joined movement of avant-garde filmmakers like Alain Resnais and Chris Marker. Jacqueline Jacoupy Films started out with At the Borders of Man (1953) directed by Nicole Vedres and Jean Rostand. This 20 minutes short film on the key moments in the history of biology won the Lumière Prize in 1953, other prizes at the Venice Festival and the Montevideo Festival in Uruguay.
Her productions also include The Mystery of Shop XV (1957) directed by Alain Resnais, André Heinrich and Chris Marker. This documentary, commissioned by INRS (French National Institute of Research on Industrial Security), is an inquiry into the origins of a mysterious disease that has befallen a worker in a factory workshop. The oppressing and uncanny vision of the factory, as well as the narrative construction, full of suspense, make this short film (20 min.) a masterpiece of its genre. A Day Like Any Other (1952) directed by Georges Rouquier, also commissioned by INRS, equally belongs to the major shorts she produced. A fictional portrayal of efforts to prevent work accidents, the film is sustained, as always with Rouquier, by the honesty of the representation of the characters.
In 1952, Jacqueline Jacoupy produced the film Colette, directed by Yannick Bellon, an occasion to record the last images of this great novelist who would die in 1954. Jacqueline Jacoupy retired from film in 1964 ; she settled in Toulouse where she opened an antique-furniture shop. She would remain in this city until her death in 1980.
Georges Rouquier, who knew Jacqueline Jacoupy well, respected her for her "charming intelligence, her professionalism and her capacity to create a space for herself in an environment dominated by men"
*This biographical note on Jacqueline Jacoupy was based on an interview by Pauline de Montaigne with Jacqueline Jacoupy's daughter, Monique d'Arailh, and with Maria Rouquier Georges Rouquier's widow.