French director Bertrand Tavernier was such a prolific, stylistically wide-ranging, consistently inspired artist, when he died in 2021, it seemed like the world of cinema had lost four or five great directors. No one had his stylistic reach, which extended to war dramas, policiers, period pieces, domestic thrillers, sci-fi and the jazz classic Round Midnight.
One of film’s last true craftsmen, he shot everything with both a deep respect for the tradition of quality in France and a bold sense of adventure. During his visit to Chicago in 1981, we talked about his risky transformation of a ’60s novel by pulp master Jim Thompson into an edgy noir set in French colonial Senegal: Coup de Torchon. We also talked about the French mastery of stealing from American films.
Hear the conversation on the latest episode of Sachs and the Cinema, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or whatever platform you like. Next up: the legendary British director Michael Powell!
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