Collected interviews with the director who is widely considered to be the leading light in a generation of French filmmakers who launched their careers in the 1970s, in the wake of the New Wave
Bertrand Tavernier (1941–2021) was widely considered to be the leading light in a generation of French filmmakers who launched their careers in the 1970s in the wake of the New Wave. In just over forty years, he directed twenty-two feature films in an eclectic range of genres from intimate family portrait to historical drama and neo-Western. Beginning with his debut feature—L’Horloger de Saint-Paul (1974), which won the prestigious Louis Delluc Prize—Tavernier showed himself to be a public intellectual. Like his films, he was deeply engaged with the pressing issues facing France and the world: the consequences of war, colonialism and its continuing aftermath, the price of heroism, and the power of art. A voracious cinephile, he was immensely knowledgeable about world cinema and American film in particular. Tavernier’s roots were in Lyon, the birthplace of the cinema. He founded and presided over the Institut Lumière, which hosts retrospectives and an annual film festival in the factory where the Lumière brothers made the first films.
In this collection, containing numerous interviews translated from French and available in English for the first time, he discusses the arc of his career following in the lineage of the Lumière brothers, in that his goal, like theirs, is to “show the world to the world.”
It is no surprise, then, that an interview with Tavernier is a treat. Beginning with discussions of his own films, the interviews in this volume cover a vast range of topics. At the core are his thoughts about the ways cinema can inspire the imagination and contribute to the broadest possible public conversation.