Scen.: Bertrand Tavernier, Jean Olle- Laprune, Stéphane Lerouge. M.: Guy Lecorne. Mus.: Bruno Coulais. Commento: André Marcon. Prod.: Frédéric Bourboulon per Little Bear, Gaumont, Pathé Production
DCP. Bn e Col.
This work as a citizen and spy, as an explorer and as a painter, as a columnist and as an adventurer that has been described so well by many authors, from Casanova to Gilles Perrault, it is a beautiful definition of a filmmaker that we want to apply to Renoir, Becker, to the Vigo of L’Atalante, to Duvivier, as well as Truffaut or Demy. To Max Ophuls and also Bresson. And to less known directors, Grangier, Gréville or Sacha, whom, during a scene or a film, sparkle an emotion, find some surprising truths. I would like this film to be an act of gratitude to all the filmmakers, writers, actors and musicians that have apparead suddenly in my life. Memory warms up: this film is a bit of coal for winter nights.
One film in Cannes towered over all the rest: Bertrand Tavernier’s exceptional three-hour documentary. A first-class French director since the 1970s, he knows film history like few others, and here has created a survey that is deep, insightful, extremely entertaining and personal. One of the very greatest documentaries about thehistory of cinema.
Todd McCarthy, “Hollywood Reporter”, 23 May 2016
“It is an impossible film, and I want to make it precisely for that reason”, boasted Jean-Pierre Melville. His student, and former assistant, Bertrand Tavernier has undertaken a la recherche du cinéma perdu which also constitutes an impossible challenge, both to time and to the intricate meanderings of the past. Tavernier interweaves autobiographical evocations tinged with self-irony and fabulous discoveries, in the manner of Coup de Torchon, about cineastes whom he has loved since childhood, and whom he later interviewed, frequented, supported and analysed. This irresistible storyteller with a warm Lyon accent draws us, fearlessly like Capitan Conan, through the valleys, hills and summits of French cinema, employing rare archival documents, an ocean of extraordinary film extracts and the precious support of Thierry Frémaux’s Institut Lumière. Throughout his unrestrained wanderings, he never forgets the changing, contradictory socio-political contexts: from the Popular Front to Pétain, De Gaulle and Pompidou. Such vast horizons have not been explored since the now-distant days of the episodic television adventures of Mario Soldati, a writer, director and polemicist just as omnivorous and omniscient as Tavernier.
The series, comprised of nine fifty-minute episodes, will screen in many French cinemas from October, thanks to Pathé Gaumount – and hopefully in Italian cinemas after that. Until then, this brief taster, which was triumphantly received at Cannes, is now served, still warm, at Cinema Ritrovato as a succulent appetizer to the royal banquet to come. Que la fête commence.