Like another great director-film buff, Martin Scorsese and his Personal Journey through american movies, Bertrand Tavernier we book with a TRAVEL THROUGH THE FRENCH CINEMA a unique document that revisits fifty years of French cinema following the thread of his lovers. After his book 50 years of american cinema, a veritable bible of movie-goers, so it was legitimate that Tavernier examines the French cinema to make him a vibrant tribute, and continue doing what he has always done : defending and reclaiming the filmmakers who touch it, including some of the sometimes forgotten, or even denied.
Bertrand Tavernier may be one of the last great storytellers and lovers of cinema. Of those who can tell you about a film from its genesis to its finest replicas through the analysis of its plans and the spicy anecdotes of the filming. Tavernier was born in Lyon, the cradle of the first film in the history of cinema signed the lumière Brothers (he is also president of the indispensable Institute Light that directs his accomplice Thierry Frémaux). Then sign premonition of his passion for the movies ? If Lyon will still play an important role in his life, it was in Paris that the cinephile passion starts its debut with Jean-Pierre Melville , to whom he is assistant to “mediocre“ and that he should change profession. Fifteen minutes later, after a phone call of recommendation from Melville Beauregard, Tavernier became press attaché in Rome-Paris Films, a company co-founded by Carlo Ponti. Beauregard comes to finance the bold Was out of breath and strong of this success is unprecedented, a product of other young filmmakers such as Jacques Rozier, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy, Agnès Varda or Jacques Rivette.
With his friends Bernard Martinand and Yves Martin, founded a ciné-club, the Nickel-Odeon, and planning of the movies untraceable and sometimes improbable. It helps to rehabilitate major director such as Delmer Daves, Andre De Toth or Abraham Polonsky. Tavernier and his comrades manage to find reels of films never shown until then. Far from the quarrels of chapels he hates, Tavernier is a “gold digger“ films, all genres. Later at the Institute Light, it will broadcast movies too unknown (he must have made it possible to rediscover the films of Michael Powell and Pressburger , among others) and co-edited several books of interviews which by themselves constitute a good part of the memory of the cinema. We remember of course also that of its movie pass, mural, on the cinema under the occupation, where he paid tribute to all those directors, writers, artisans who have continued to make films during the war under the watchful eye of the germans. Many of them have been (too) quickly swept away by the New Wave and Tavernier has always stood against this idea, who has also collaborated with writers “banned“ as Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost.
Bertrand Tavernier is still a young man when he is experiencing one of its first shocks film in the film of Jacques Becker, casque d’or with the luminous Simone Signoret. From Falbalas at the Hole , stopping at this tremendous scene “purely French“ Touch not the Grisbi where Gabin in pajamas offers a toothbrush to his sidekick, Tavernier discusses this film maker with a lot of emotion and reminds us just how much Becker was a great director, one of his generation who may be the better understood american cinema and his sense of rhythm to the picture of a Lubitsch or Hawks.
“Far from being a lesson of cinema, academic, Journey through French cinema is probably one of the most personal films of Bertrand Tavernier and a moving tribute to the seventh art.“
His second shock is The great illusion by Jean Renoir with the same Gabin , to whom he pays a very beautiful tribute. He met Jean Gabin at the end of his life, and praises his skill as an actor capable of interpreting all things in contrast to what has been said. He was truly his characters, to adopt the rightness of their actions, of their rhythm. It is also said that in The chat of Granier-Deferre , alongside Simone Signoret, Gabin, who preserved his heart and refused to climb the stairs, went up by out-of-field while the camera was on the face of Simone and asked him, ” after the jack “Ac has helped you to look at ?“.
Stories like this, the film of Bertrand Tavernier ‘s cup runneth over. About Jean Renoir , to whom he devotes an entire chapter, Tavernier tells us that the latter placed himself in a terrible wrath when his chief op wanted to move Jean Gabin for a story of light. “This is not Mr Gabin who needs to move, it is you who must go and get the light on him !“. If he analyzes the perfection of the staging of Renoir, its depth-of-field and his genius to film scenes involving lots of characters, it also reveals a darker part of the director at the time of his exile in american, the next “whore“ evokes Gabin. He does not hesitate to recall the famous tantrums of Jean-Pierre Melville, one of his two godfathers of cinema, nor to admit that he prefers his adaptations rather than his screenplays original. He compares the sketch of Melville to Bresson and magnifies the grace of Léon Morin, priest, his favorite film of Melville.
The extracts are linked together with a fluidity incredible, following the narrative thread and oh staff of Tavernier, leaving room for the magic of certain shots, to the emotion they elicit, and the analysis he makes of it. His journey made a stop in Marcel Carné (the origin of the famous replica ofArletty and his mouth atmosphere is hilarious), Jean Sacha, Jean Vigo, Julien Duvivier, Robert Bresson, Max Ophuls, René Clair, Henri Decoin, Gilles Grangier, or Edmond T. Gréville (to which he will provide with his comrades in the Nickel Odeon his grave when he disappears suddenly without a penny). Tavernier also evokes Jean-Luc Godard, the other child of the Release and the Cinémathèque of Henri Langlois for which it was first attached to the press. It was he, Tavernier, who brings Samuel Fuller in the film Pierrot le fou. Him also who has the idea to invite Louis Aragon, as his father René Tavernier former resistant had hosted during the war, a screening of Pierrot le fou. Aragon writes : “I couldn’t see a thing, only one, and that is that it was beautiful. A beauty superhuman. Physical and into the soul and the imagination.“
Bertrand Tavernier is not only an encyclopedia of the cinema, it is also a fervent music lover. He calls in his film, Joseph Kosma, Miles Davis, Georges Delerue , but especially Maurice Jaubert, the composer René Clair, and the beautiful score for L’atalante by Jean Vigo, who disappeared when very young, just as his recordings today can’t be found. There was a wait of Adele H. for François Truffaut réorchestre and revived this partition.
This first installment ends with a tribute absolutely shocking to his friend and second godfather film, Claude protestant redemption church. The meeting on Class, all risks, when he worked for Rome-Paris Films. Bertrand Tavernier underlines the talent of protestant redemption church to reveal the truth of his characters and his ability to bring together players in the game, however, very different as are Lino Ventura and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Often accused, wrongly, of making a “movie dad“, protestant redemption church was also a “ressemeleur“ scenario, to borrow the word of Truffaut. Tavernier will continue to consult for his own films. During the montage of Captain Conan, protestant redemption church will say to Bertrand : “If you touch a single plan of this assembly, I will talk to you more”.
It is filled spring, moved by the journey that is full of evocations sensitive, exciting stories, analysis bright. Far from being a lesson of cinema, academic,JOURNEY THROUGH FRENCH CINEMA is probably one of the most personal films of Bertrand Tavernier and a moving tribute to the seventh art And good news, the end credits promise a sequel (apparently nine hours of happiness, more waiting for us) ! Looking forward to the next trip !
Anne Laure Farges
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