Bertrand Bonello was born in 1968 in Nice. After a period as a backup musician for numerous artists like Françoise Hardy, Elliott Murphy, De Palmas and Daniel Darc, he decided to devote his attentions to cinema, a genre he had already explored in three short films and two documentaries, including Qui je suis – D'après Pier Paolo Pasolini (1996).
His first full-length feature, Quelque chose d'organique (Something organic) (1998) was presented at the Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section and immediately positioned him among the new generation of film directors seeking to decipher and untangle the physical-mental relationship. His second full-length feature Le Pornogaphe (The Pornographer) (2001), starring Jean-Pierre Léaud was presented at the Cannes Film Festival during the Semaine Internationale de la Critique and was awarded the Fipresci Prize. The film continued his previous explorations while delving into the father/son relationship, the art of filmmaking and political commitment. With Tiresia, which made the Official Selection at Cannes in 2003, Bertrand Bonello imposed his presence and his unique perspective of the world.
In 2005, as part of the official selection at Cannes, he presented the short film, Cindy, the doll is mine, in which Asia Argento plays a character based on the American photographer Cindy Sherman. At the same time, he continued to pursue a career in music. He released the album MY NEW PICTURE in June 2007 and would go on to adapt it into a film of the same name and present it at the Locarno Festival. In 2008, he directed De la guerre (On war), a drama in which autobiography blends with fiction. The film would be showcased in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes that same year. In 2010, he re-explored the short film genre with WHERE THE BOYS ARE, and presented it in Locarno. In 2011, as part of the Official Competition at Cannes, he premiered L'Apollonide, souvenirs de la maison close (House of Tolerance), a film which recounts the day to day life in a brothel in the closing years of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The film was nominated for 8 Césars. In 2012, Ingrid Caven, musique et voix, a filmed concert featuring the German singer and actress was screened at the Locarno Festival. In 2014, he directed Saint Laurent, a biography drama about the life of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. The film was presented as part of the Official Competition at the 2014 Cannes Festival. It was also selected to represent France at the Academy Awards and it was nominated for 10 Césars. That same year his work was the object of a retrospective exhibition at Beaubourg.