Internationally acclaimed film director Bertrand Tavernier has died at the age of 79.
His most popular films include The Clockmaker (1974), Round Midnight (1986) and Life and Nothing But (1989).
He was born in Lyon under the Nazi regime in 1941 and his father, René, a writer, was in France Resistance.
Tavernier led the Institut Lumière, named after the brothers who established the cinema. His work covered several genres from dramas to historical dramas.
Tavernier was also a writer, actor and producer. He fell in love with cinema as a teenager while staying in the hospital, receiving treatment for tuberculosis.
Oscar Winning Talent
He said the golden years of Hollywood – especially Westerners – inspired him. That was especially evident in his 2009 American film In the Electric Mist, starring Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman.
The 1986 film Round Midnight mimics the life of struggling jazz musician and Oscar-winning pianist Herbie Hancock won an Oscar for the film’s score.
But Tavernier focused more on French themes and became a campaign fader or French culture.
In 2003 he criticized the special blockbusters driven by the results, saying that “if technology controls us, it will turn us into stupid kids, and in a way, half of the American cinema does that”.
His first feature film, The Clockmaker, won a Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. A crime drama with social and political dimensions, it starred Philippe Noiret, who also acted in many subsequent Tavernier films.
Tavernier went on to win many more film honours in France and internationally.
His early work was dominated by crime thrillers. But he also embraced left-wing causes. He attacked French colonial abuses in Algeria, censorship and discrimination against migrants.
Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival, called Tavernier “a complete auteur, instinctively anti-conformist and courageously eclectic”.