Bertrand Tavernier, a French director best known in the United States for “Round Midnight,” a 1986 film that earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as a New York jazz musician, spent his life on the track in Paris. And was trying for a career. Died in Sante-Maxime in southeastern France on Thursday. He was 79 years old.
A film organization at the Institute Lumiere, Lyon, which he headed, posted news of his death. On Facebook. The reason was not given.
Mr. Tavernier made some 30 features and documentaries and was a regular on the film festival circuit, winning the Best Director award at Cannes in 1984, “A Sunday in the Country” What did roger ebert say “A beautiful and delicate story about hidden streams in a family” headed by an aged painter living outside Paris.
Mr. Tavernier worked primarily as a film critic and publicist until 1974, when he directed his first feature, “The Clockmaker of St. Paul,” the story of a man whose son is accused of murder . The film, studying more character than crime dramas, quickly set her in France and attracted acclaim overseas.
“The Clockmaker ‘is an extraordinary film,” Mr. Ebert wrote, “More so because it attempts to show us the very complex workings of the human personality, and grace, some humor and a great deal of style.”
French actor Philippe Noire played the role of a father in that film. The two worked frequently together, and again in 1976 played the role of a judge with Mr. Nairat, in another story about a murderer, “The Judge and the Assassin”. The cast also included Isabel Huppert, who appeared in other Tavernier films.
Mr. Tavernier was soon working with international artists. “Death Watch”, a 1980s science fiction thriller, starred Harvey Keitel as a television reporter whose eyes have been turned from a camera to film together in the final days of a woman – whom Romy Schneider played – who has a terminal disease.
“Round Midnight” featured artists full of musicians – not only Mr. Gordon, a famous saxophonist, but also Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Sorter, and others, including Herbie Hancock, who won an Oscar from his original score.
“The screenplay by Mr. Tavernier and David Ryfill is both rich and relaxed, with a style that perfectly matches the composers’.” Janet Muslin has written In The New York Times. “Some things can be improved well, but nothing seems to be forced, and the film is effortlessly all the way through.”
Bertrand Tavernier was born in Lyon on April 25, 1941, to René and Jeanette Tavernier. His father was a famous writer and poet. in An interview in 1990 With The Times, Mr. Tavernier described a segregated boyhood.
“My childhood was marked by loneliness because my parents were not well together,” he said. “And it’s coming in every film. I practically never made a pair in my films. “
He noted the influence of his hometown.
“It’s a very secretive city,” he explained. “My father used to say that in Lyon you learn that you should never lie, but always be dissatisfied, and this is part of my films. Characters are often skewed in their relationships. There will be brief moments when they reveal themselves. “
He was interested in film from an early age, and his early jobs in the film business included press agent for Georges de Beauregard, the famous producer of the George New Day Wayard. He also wrote about the film for Les Cahiers du Cinéma and other publications, and has continued to write essays, books and more – throughout his career. As a film historian, he was known for films, directors and screenwriters who were treated abusively by others.
Stephen Head’s 2001 biography, “Bertrand Tavernier: The Film-Maker of Leon”, credited to Tavernier, the widow of noted film editor and director Michael Powell, for reviving Mr. Powell’s reputation of “peeping” Tom, “condemned by Was released when it was released in 1960 but is now considered by many cinephiles.
“Bertrand’s desire to do wrong in the history of cinema is directly related to the themes of justice, which permeate his own films,” he wrote.
Thierry Fremaux, director of the Cannes Festival and director of the Institute Lumiere, said Mr. Tavernier was tireless in his advocacy.
“Bertrand Tavernier has created the body of work that we know, but he has created something else: being in the service of the history of cinema, in all theaters,” Mr. Fremaux said by email. “He wrote books, he edited other people’s books, he did an extraordinary amount of film interviews, everyone he admired, film productions.”
He said, “I am not sure that there are other examples in art history of a creator who is dedicated to the work of others.”
Mr. Tavernier’s own films sometimes set personal stories in between broader moments of history. The “Life and Nothing But” (1989), founded in 1920, had the backdrop of the discovery of hundreds of French soldiers since the First World War. “Safe conduct” (2002) was about French filmmakers who worked during the German occupation in World War II.
But Mr. Tavernier was not interested in the historical spectacle of his own accord.
“Often people come to me and say that you should do a film about the French Resistance, but I say it’s not a subject, it’s unclear,” Told Variety In 2019. “Tell me about a character who was one of the first members of the resistance and who later said in 1945 that people should be judged as crimes.” Then I have a character and a feeling that I can deal with. “
His survivors include his wife, Sarah, and two children, Nils and Tiffany Tavernier.
Mr. Tavernier dropped humor in his films, even with a grim scene like “Life and Nothing But,” which had a scene – with some basis in reality, he said – to a distracted army captain. One has to quickly find an “unknown soldier” to be placed under the Arc de Triomphe.
“The rush to find the unidentified soldier is completely true,” Tavernier said, though we had to guess how it happened. “Just think: how do you find a body that is impossible to identify and still be sure that it is French?”
Aurelin Breden contributed reporting from Paris.