(pseudonym of Jacques Frédérix). Born July 21, 1888, in Ixelles, near Brussels; died May 25, 1948, in Prangins, Switzerland. French film director.
Feyder began an acting career in 1908, appearing first in the theater and later in films. He made his directing debut in 1916 with Monsieur Pinson, Policeman. In 1921 he directed Atlantide, an exotic film that was a great box-office success. Feyder’s best silent films, Crainquebille (1922, based on the novel by A. France), Gribiche (1925), and Thérèse Raquin (1928, based on the novel by E. Zola), avoided motion-picture clichés and affirmed the originality and realism of French cinema. His satirical film The New Gentlemen (1928) exposed the corruption of the bourgeois parliamentary system and the unscrupulousness of political careerists.
Feyder worked in the USA from 1929 to 1933. After returning to France he directed his most important films, Lady With Two Faces (Le Grand Jeu, 1934) and The Hotel Mimosa (1935), which depicts the loneliness of man in bourgeois society and his anguish and insecurity amid the falseness of the surrounding world. The historical comedy Carnival in Flanders (1935) brilliantly recreates the life and mores of 18th-century Flanders. After France was occupied by the fascist Germans, Feyder emigrated to Switzerland, returning to France in 1945. His last work was Macadam (1946).
Feyder’s wife, F. Rosay, played leading roles in a number of her husband’s films. Feyder collaborated with his wife on the book The Cinema—Our Profession (1944).