Born in a Jewish family, yet very atheist, his maternal grandparents were deported to Auschwitz. In 1992 he shot his first feature film entitled Riens du tout, which had few spectators but a good review from the critics. One year later, a TV channel asked him to make a film about a college in 1975 called Le Péril Jeune. It was a very small budget film starring Romain Duris and Vincent Elbaz, who would become two of his favourite actors. Due to its success when broadcast on TV, the film was released in the cinema two years later. During the 90's he also made three short films to encourage the use of the condom to fight AIDS, which are La chambre, Le Poisson Rouge and Le Ramoneur des Lilas. In 1996 he shot Chacun cherche son chat (When the Cat's Away), a neighbourhood story in Paris, and at the same time he prepared an adaptation of a French theatre comedy Un Air de Famille. Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri, the two scriptwriters and main actors, asked him to adapt the play for cinema. He accepted and sold 2.5 million tickets, and the film got one César Award for the script and two others for the male and female supporting parts, which were played by Catherine Frot and Jean-Pierre Daroussin.
At the same time, his popularity did not enable him to find the money to shoot a blockbuster movie, which he had already been writing for several years. However, he found a producer and made his film, Peut-être (Maybe), in 1999 with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Romain Duris with Vincent Elbaz once again. The film did not really succeed and did not satisfy the producers.
Next he wrote a whodunnit, Ni pour, ni contre (bien au contraire), but the beginning of the shooting was delayed four months. During this period Cedric Klapisch decided to shoot another project with a ridiculously low budget in Spain. L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) sold 3 million tickets and became his greatest success.
In 2005, he filmed the sequel to The Spanish Apartment, Les Poupées Russes (The Russian Dolls), with many of the same actors from The Spanish Apartment. This was another great success with the audience and the critics. He is now a money-making director and he is preparing his next film which is called for the moment Paris.
Cedric Klapisch is recognized as a famous director mainly for the way of filming the gestures of daily life. One of his fetish actors, Zinedine Soualem, who plays in 5 of his films, says of him that he films the gestures that people do not notice. Klapisch is also reputed for giving an important role to sound and music in his films.