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Bertrand Tavernier: A Tribute

Bertrand Tavernier (1941-2021)

A selective retrospective of Bertrand Tavernier.
We hope to welcome Professor Hugo Frey to briefly introduce each film.

Having decided at the age of fourteen that he wanted to be a film director, it took Bertrand Tavernier just six years before he became an assistant director to Jean-Pierre Melville on ‘Léon Morin, Prêtre’ but another thirteen before he made his first feature, ‘The Watchmaker of St Paul in 1974’. It was worth the wait, however, and that striking debut, with its evocative location shots of the director’s home city of Lyon, is part of this five-film retrospective, featuring some of the notable early films and a late documentary of this remarkably eclectic filmmaker, who died in March this year.

The eighties proved to be perhaps the richest period of his career and three films are drawn from that decade, including the shocking crime comedy 'Clean Slate' (‘Coup de Torchon’), set in colonial French West Africa, and ‘A Sunday in the Country’, an intimate, poignant family drama set in the dying years of La Belle Epoque, which brought him the Best Director prize at Cannes. We will also be going with him to the jazz clubs of Paris in the fifties, with the noirish, smoky ‘Round Midnight’.

Tavernier was always a cineaste in both senses of the word - not just a filmmaker but a film buff - and it was apt that he finished his career with his own fascinating and moving retrospective, ‘A Journey Through French Cinema’, replete with clips to savour from his favourite films and illuminated with Tavernian insights.

Philippe Noiret (1930–2006): This is also a belated tribute to one of Tavernier’s favourite actors, who appears in three of the films: ‘The Watchmaker of St Paul’, ‘Coup de Torchon’ and ‘Round Midnight’.

NB. Tavernier’s last film ‘Daddy Nostalgie’ (‘These Foolish Things’ - 1990) is discussed in a tribute talk in the Dirk Bogarde strand by John Coldstream.

You can click on the button below to see a special 30min Podcast/video created by the Cinema's Education team.