This year’s Cannes Film Festival has served up a bonafide buffet of looks, meaty morsels of gossip over who did and didn’t get a long standing ovation (in short: Indiana Jones, no, Scorsese, yes) and, of course, a generous helping of good films, as is its annual purpose. But nothing gets heads turning and mouths gaping like an It Couple debut, and thanks to pop star Dua Lipa and her new boyfriend Romain Gavras, we have been properly fed.
Gavras, 41, compared to Lipa, 27, is a relative random to many, prompting a lot of “who is he?” from internet onlookers. The same can’t be said for the film buff Cannes crowd, who will know award-winning French director Gavras perhaps even better than his pop star girlfriend.
But seeing as we can’t all be bespectacled film critics, here’s the skinny on Dua Lipa’s new beau and how you may have actually heard of him before (without even realising it).
He used to date Rita Ora
Ora and Gavras started dating in the summer of 2020 and were pictured on holiday together in Formentera, one of Spain’s Balearic islands, in July of that year. But by December things had gotten a bit rocky, and when Ora was asked by The Sunday Times Magazine if Gavras was “the one”, she responded, “I don’t know yet.”
The pair called it quits in early 2021, and Ora quickly moved on to another director, Taika Waititi, around February 2021. Small world!
He’s directed some of the coolest music videos of the 2010s
While Gavras has made short films and feature length films during his directorial tenure, he’s best known for his ambitious music videos, which he’s made for the likes of Kanye West, MIA and Jamie XX.
His music videos can prove divisive, too - particularly his 2008 effort for French dance band Justice’s song, Stress, which Dazed dubbed “one of the most controversial music videos of all time.” (The music video depicts black youths in the streets of Paris wreaking havoc and committing crimes - Gavras refuses to explain the intentions behind his music videos but describes his upbringing as “very leftwing.”)
And despite his affinities for dating pop girlies, you’d likely never see a music video of Rita Ora’s or Dua Lipa’s usual calibre being produced by Gavras. “I’d rather kill myself than make a normal music video for YouTube with Bono singing in front of the camera,” he told Dazed in a 2016 interview.
In short: don’t go hoping for a Dua Lipa x Romain Gavras vid anytime soon, especially considering Gavras’ stance on pop titans like Lipa: “If massive artists call me to do stuff, I usually don’t go there because I know I’ll be fucked over,” he said in the Dazed interview, “either by the artist, their entourage, management and all that.”
Born in Paris to a film-loving family
While Gavras is a born and raised Parisian, his father, Palme d’Or winning Greek-French director and screenwriter Costa-Gavras, lived in Greece until he was a teenager. Costa-Gavras relocated to France after he realised that his father’s Communist Party membership would prohibit him from being able to attend any Greek universities, or apply for a visa to the United States. So, France it was, and France it remains.
Costa-Gavras raised Romain to love movies - just not the kind he wanted him to love. The family house was used as a production headquarters, and Costa-Gavras ensured that Romain and his siblings were exposed to the important works of postwar European cinema from a young age.
Unfortunately, this led to Romain rebelling and going the other way. “Kids build themselves in opposition to something,” Romain told The Guardian in 2022. “I watched Tarkovsky way too young. All the masterpieces, way too young. My dad fed them to me from the age of seven. So my rebellion at the age of 12 or 13 was to kick against all of that. I said I hated Tarkovsky and that my favourite film was Die Hard.”
Romain started making movies with his mates at age 14: “We started really young, me and my friends,” he told Golden Globes interviewers last year, “like when we were 14 [we were] making films with TV cameras, and from then it hasn’t stopped.”
He also has a teenage daughter, who was 13 at time of that Guardian interview, which came out in September 2022. We don’t know much about her other than that she’s a natural movie buff (“Even my daughter, who’s 13, she watches an Avengers movie, she’s pointing out the green screen,” Gavras told The Irish Times) and that she’s not been forced to watch any Tarkovsky yet.
He’s actually been dating Dua for months
Gavras was first spotted with Lipa in February 2023, leaving a Baftas afterparty. Around this time, a source told The Sun they’d been dating for months already: “Dua and Romain have been quietly getting to know each other for several months,” the source said. “They have been enjoying spending time together. The pair met each other’s close circles over the festive period and have lots in common.
“Dua knows how important it is to find someone who understands her industry. She feels Romain totally gets it. They’re both really creative people.”
Then, in March, the pair were spotted leaving Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris fashion week show. So it’s not like they were really keeping it under wraps ahead of their big Cannes debut - Romain regularly crops up on Dua’s Insta, including in pictures from her recent holiday to Jamaica. Cute!
He’s the new bane of Anwar Hadid’s life
The only thing that has started as much conversation as Lipa and Gavras’ Cannes debut is her ex-boyfriend’s reaction, which has caused quite the stir! Anwar Hadid (brother of Bella and Gigi) dated Dua from 2019 to 2021 and seemed to have something to say about her new boo when the pictures from Cannes were released.
Taking to Instagram to vent his frustrations, Hadid posted to his story: “Trying not to find and kill him,” followed by another slide saying, “I can’t breath.” Hadid has not confirmed whether his stories are about Lipa’s new relationship, but you gotta admit the timing’s a little funky. Long live Gavras and Lipa, I’m sure Anwar will catch his breath soon.