The next best thing to taking a course in French cinema, and maybe even a better idea, is to see veteran filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier’s “My Journey Through French Cinema.” This 190-minute, super-intelligent documentary covers an incredible range. Shown at the 2016 New York Film Festival, it will be released in the summer of 2017 by Cohen Media Group.
I have casually known Tavernier over the years, and in addition to having directed an impressive array of films, he is extremely knowledgeable about French film history as well as contemporary French cinema. The films that he has directed include “The French Minister,” “Safe Conduct,” “Lest We Forget,” “Beatrice,” “Coup de torchon,” “‘Round Midnight,” “Mississippi Blues” and “The Judge and the Assassin,” to name just a few.
Tavernier’s overall experience is vast and his acquaintances are voluminous. He examines the work of such greats as Jean Renoir, and he looks at the films of Jean-Luc Goddard, as well as films by a host of other French directors. He also has broad knowledge of the world, important literature and social problems.
In this remarkable film, Tavernier leads us through the impressive history of films that have come from France, from past masters to important newcomers.
This is not just a lecture, but the film contains a fascinating number of clips that will stir nostalgia among those who have long been followers of French cinema and should create interest among younger filmgoers who are just shaping their tastes.
It is a pleasure to listen to Tavernier comment on what he has assembled. He is very personable and in addition to dispensing a spectrum of information, he expresses his viewpoints with conviction and communicates a movie buff’s love of cinema. Tavernier is not only a good teacher but very good company. Watch for this Cohen Media Group release in 2017. Reviewed December 13, 2016.