Briefly On Tavernier’s My Journey Through French Cinema.

I just realised that I have yet to write anything on Bertrand Tavernier’s My Journey Through French Cinema, which opened in UK cinemas last week, and which the distributor of which were kind enough to send me a copy of.

I’ve never been a particularly big fan of the work of Bertrand Tavernier. Some of his fiction films impress, particularly Death Watch, but by and large it just leaves me cool. I would never doubt for a second his cinephile credentials though, and looked forward to this greatly.

My Journey Though French Cinema has been compared to Martin Scorsese’s A Personal Journey Through American Movies, and it’s an apt companion. The viewer tags along with Tavernier as he walks us through his recollections of particular filmic works and directors. Having fallen for film during a stint in a sanitarium in the wake of the Second World War, he started out as a critic in the 1960s, in the wake of the Nouvelle Vague and in a France surrounded by cultural and social revolution. Like Scorsese, Tavernier certainly has a passion for cinema, and it’s a passion matched by an extensive, encyclopaedic knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the industry and art form.

My Journey Though French Cinema is a a leisurely but by-no-means-potted history of film, and one that has something interesting to say: I’m particularly happy to report that it caters for both the seasoned lover of French cinema and newcomer. The movie opens by looking at the work of Jacques Becker, to whom the film is dedicated. Chapters on the likes of Jean Renoir and Edmond Gréville follow, and while exhaustive, Tavernier has left the door open for a follow-up.

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