Born in Meaux, France, Jean-François Richet was raised, with a brother and sister, by a single mother in one of the projects surrounding Paris. He left school at an early age and worked at a series of low-paying jobs before realizing his dream of becoming a filmmaker.
His debut feature film, État des lieux (1995), was a huge hit in France. Richet gambled his unemployment wages at a local casino and made enough money -- $20,000 -- to finance the film. An unflinching depiction of blue-collar life, based on his own firsthand knowledge of growing up in the projects, it received screenings at film festivals around the world. Richet earned a César Award nomination for Best First Feature and the film was also honored with the 1996 Cyril Collard Award.
Richet wrote and directed his next two films, which also received positive critical feedback. Eventually, his talent became noticed in Hollywood, and he was hired to direct his first English-language film -- a remake of John Carpenter's 1976 film, Assault on Precinct 13. The new version, starring Laurence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke, was filmed in Toronto and opened in 2005 to good reviews.
Following that, he directed the 2008 films Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct and Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy Number 1, as well as 2015's One Wild Moment.