Actor, director, and screenwriter Daniel Duval earned acclaim in his native France with spiny art house dramas like "Shadow of the Castles" and "Memoirs of a French Whore" (1979). Those directorial efforts would hew closely to Duval's later career as a tenebrous character actor, his gaunt figure and piercing gaze lending a terrifying believability to his performances as, typically, arch villains or outlaws. After a difficult childhood, the future star entered into an apprenticeship as a joiner, but before long heard the call of his true vocation after a chance meeting with a TV producer. He made his directorial debut in 1974 with the surprisingly lighthearted "Le voyage d'Amélie," also taking the film's lead male role. After a few more feature films in the late 1970s, Duval continued directing primarily on television in the 1980s, finally transitioning to acting roles by late decade. After some run-ins with the law in the late '80s, Duval returned stronger than ever in the '90s and '00s, appearing as the bumptious father in "Y'aura-t-il de la neige à Noël?" (1996) and marking his triumphant return to the director's chair with the semi-autobiographical "A Year in My Life" (2006).