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Bertrand Tavernier Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (3)

Born in Lyon, Rhône, France
Died in Sainte-Maxime, Var, France  (complications from pancreatitis)
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Bertrand Tavernier was the son of Geneviève (Dumond) and René Tavernier, who was a publicist, writer, and president of the French PEN club. He was a law student that preferred write film criticisms. He also wrote a few books about American movies. Then his first film won a few awards in France and abroad and established his reputation.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Yepok

Spouse (2)

Sarah Thibau (26 March 2005 - 25 March 2021) ( his death)
Colo Tavernier (1965 - 1980) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (3)

Often directs period pieces

Trivia (13)

Was at high-school with Volker Schlöndorff.
He was the father of actor Nils Tavernier.
Fond of jazz and gastronomy.
Tribute in the Memory of Film section at the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent, Belgium. [2001]
Was an assistant to Jean-Pierre Melville.
Directed one Oscar-nominated performance: Dexter Gordon in 'Round Midnight (1986). Interestingly, Gordon was professionally a musician, not an actor.
One of his favorite actors is Philippe Noiret.
Tavernier began working in films as a publicist and occasional critic and journalist.
Ciinephile, he writes a DVD blog on the SACD's site (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques) . That French authors and composers' association was founded in 1777 by Beaumarchais.
In the early 60s worked as a press officer for the producer Georges de Beauregard.
At one time an influential film critic, notably for the left wing magazine Positif.
Educated at the Lycée Henri-IV in Paris.

Personal Quotes (13)

When I do a film, I like to not only be involved with the emotion, but also the context around the character. I want to show the environment and I want, sometimes, to deal with social and political issues because they are organic to the jobs of people.
I like characters who, because they really believe in their mission, become a pain in the arse for an institution. A teacher who really wants to teach and really wants to follow the implication of his work - how can you teach a kid who is starving? How? The people above him say that it's not his job and tell him to forget it. But can you forget it? Can you forget when you see a young kid scavenging in a dustbin? If you raise that question, then you become a problem.
Dealing with history teaches you to be analytical and teaches you to find out what's important. Not conventional history, but the history told by the new breed of historians that show that history is linked with fact, flesh, blood, passion. It's not just about remembering dates, but it's about making the history alive.
I've been lucky. Almost everything I've done I wanted to make passionately. It's not so much the case if you work in America.
I can't tell you how many films I've made; I don't count. As I've said they were mostly things I was passionate about. I try not to be too analytic about why I want to do something but one thing that seems consistent is that there's an intriguing element that starts it all and makes me want to learn something new.
[on Isabelle Huppert] I think when Isabelle is funny... she is the best French actress of her generation. This year, she did two films that were really wonderful, very funny.
[on the shooting of Coup de Torchon (1981)] Stéphane Audran was a bit shy in the beginning because she had a strange habit. She would never say her lines during rehearsal. That was the way she concentrated, and un-concentrated everyone else. So after ten rehearsals where she couldn't remember a thing, we finally decided to shoot, and she remembered it all! But she had to look completely lost in order to get there.
[on working with Dexter Gordon in 'Round Midnight (1986)] It was incredible. Sometimes it was difficult to bring him in front of the camera, because crossing the courtyard of the studio could last one hour. But once he was there, he was so smart, so on top of it, and so knowledgeable about the camera. I never did more than three takes with him. He was amazing. One day he didn't show up. The next day, I wanted to kill him, but he came up to me and said "Lady Bertrand, I made a huge mistake. I knew I had to come and work, but my mind was set on going to the Turkish baths. And strangely enough, I could not change my mind." And what can you say to that? You cannot scream and yell, and be angry.
[on casting the female lead for The Princess of Montpensier (2010)] Marie had to be beautiful, she had to look good in period costume, which not everybody is. You have a great actress like Sigourney Weaver who, when she played the Queen of Spain, just didn't look right for the period. Rarely do you find an American actor who looks correct in a (16th century) setting, whereas most British actors fit the part very easily. Cate Blanchett, in the newest Robin Hood (2010)_, even in a thankless part, she's extremely believable. But Robert De Niro in 1900 (1976) and Al Pacino in Revolution (1985), they were so bad. They felt too contemporary to fit in. The only actors in America who could very easily fit into period films were those who did lots of westerns, like Burt Lancaster. In The Leopard (1963) , he was the best Sicilian prince you could dream about. He didn't look disguised in costume, so I had to find somebody who had all the colors of the part: the sensuality, but also the teenager. She's a very young girl who likes to have fun, to flirt, behave like a young kid in school. Then in the next minute, she becomes class-conscious and aristocratic. And Mélanie Thierry fit that perfectly.
[on Philippe Noiret] He was...I have a lot of emotion when I speak of Philippe, because he starred in my first film. He was a famous actor who said 'yes' to a young director with no real credits to his name. He even agreed to cut his salary in half. I asked him later, what made him stand by me in those days, and from then on. He said "I gave you my word," and that's the man he was. He was somebody...he had the politeness to make you feel everything was easy. He didn't have to do what so many of those American stars do: thirty minutes of silence between takes. Philippe was making jokes, telling stories, then you said 'action,' and he was great. He wanted to make you believe that he knew nothing, that he was good by accident. Of course, this wasn't true. When he was very, very sick, he was doing a play, Love Letters. He could barely walk, but when he came out to take his bow, he was running out on to the stage. One of his co-stars said to him "Philippe, I thought you were so sick, but I can't keep up with you when you run out on stage. What happened?" He said "Simple: here, darling, I am acting." Then he spent his last days, on his deathbed, teaching another actor to take over his role when he was gone. That was Philippe. I absolutely adored him.
[In a 1983 interview] ... I can understand why American audiences sometimes find foreign films too long because they are complicated films that you have to pay attention to.
When I read articles or books written by people who teach about screenplay, I've never understood the American notion of the three-act structure. I've never seen it in any American film that I like. There are no acts in The Big Sleep (1946) or The Maltese Falcon (1941)or She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). I see a flow. Where are the three acts in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)?
My characters are not completely heroic characters. Michael Powell told me that he liked films where the hero is wrong in three or four scenes but without the author of the film pointing them out. I adore that! To have somebody making mistakes. That's something that exists in all the films - whether the man is a cop or a tenor saxophonist.

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