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Flashback on eight major films by an essential filmmaker who is passionate about French cinema.
First feature film in 1974, The Watchmaker of Saint-Paul, is also Bertrand Tavernier’s first collaboration with Philippe Noiret, whom he will often meet again. Adapted from Simenon, this first film is a tribute to his hometown of Lyon, and to the Lumière brothers. He films her with love, in a thriller where a father learns that his son, absent for ages, has murdered a man. Atmosphere, atmosphere …
Tavernier found Noiret in 1975 and accompanied him by Jean Rochefort, Jean-Pierre Marielle and Marina Vlady, in a historical reconstruction of the Regency (1715-20). “Les petits suppers” by Philippe, Duc D’Orléans, and Cardinal Dubois, have gone down in history. When a provincial squire calls for the sanitation of the Dombes marshes, the unfortunate one disrupts their feasts too much. Irresistible.
A stroke of genius from Bertrand Tavernier in 1976, when he gave Michel Galabru, labeled a comedy actor, a counter-employment in the role of serial killer Joseph Vacher (1869-1898), under the name of Joseph Bouvier. Judge Rousseau, still Noiret, talks with him and takes part in the investigations by going up his path of railroad which crosses the list of his crimes.
Dream casting that Tavernier brings together in Wipe in 1981, according to 1275 souls by Jim Thompson. Noiret and Marielle find themselves alongside Isabelle Huppert, Stéphane Audran and fabulous supporting roles held by Guy Marchand, Eddy Mitchell and Gérard Hernandez. Projected in French colonial Africa on the eve of the Second World War, all will pay the price of a disillusioned base cop who sets his revenge to work.
In 1984, his homage to Jean Renoir and the Impressionists changed Tavernier again with his more intimate films such as Spoiled children (1977) and A week of vacation (1980). Sabine Azéma and Michel Aumont are the children of an old painter at the end of his life, played by Louis Ducreux. A nostalgic and sunny evocation of the Belle Epoque, before the First World War, where the director renews his talents as an atmospheric filmmaker.
Music lover, and not only for the cinema, Bertrand Tavernier films his passion for jazz with this false biopic of saxophonist Dexter Gordon which he directed in 1986 in Around midnight. François Cluzet plays there a nightclubber who meets his idol. While he sinks into alcohol and loneliness, the tenor sax will find inspiration in a nocturnal Paris, under the impetus of his biggest fan. It is always the atmosphere which dominates, in the soft lights and the scent of cigarettes haloed with scotch, on an inescapable music, where one recognizes Herbbie Hancock. One of the best jazz movies.
The Lyon filmmaker reinvents the urban thriller in 1992 in L.627, title reference to the law against narcotics in France. He films the daily life of a group of cops in charge of drug repression in Paris. The formula will be successful, especially on television, and which Maïwenn will reuse in Police, but within a brigade for the protection of minors. Tavernier at the same time reveals Philippe Torreton that he will take over in Captain Conan in 1996, at the quarry, since then, mirifique.
Second collaboration in 1996 with Philippe Torreton, Captain Conan deals with the eastern front at the end of the First World War, in the Balkans. Conan will defend tooth and nail his soldiers, accused of looting and rape, while the Armistice has just been signed, and his troops are still mobilized. Bertrand Tavernier will receive the César for Best Director for his film in 1997.
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