Presented in Association with:

the WGA,
The American Cinematheque,
Rialto Pictures,
The French Embassy in the United States,

This 25th anniversary of COLCOA is dedicated to one of the closest French friends of American filmmakers: writer/director Bertrand Tavernier who passed away on March 25th, 2021.

“I was born in Lyon, the city where cinema was invented. The Lumière brothers sent cameramen around the globe to show the world to the world. I share D.W. Griffiths’ opinion: a camera can change reality. I want to believe that. 

When I was in my teens, American films drew me not only into cinemas, but also books, music and society. And politics. I discovered the New Deal with The Grapes of Wrath, and the genocide of native Americans through the westerns of Delmer Daves. American directors and screenwriters expanded my horizons. They gave me new keys to the world.” (Bertrand Tavernier, 2001)

Don’t miss:

The Los Angeles Premiere of digitally restored:
Starring Philippe Noiret, Michel Galabru, Isabelle Huppert
Free screening on Tuesday November 2 at 12:45 – Renoir Theatre. (No RSVP)

The Special screening of:
Starring Philippe Torreton, Samuel Le Bihan, Bernard Le Coq
Free screening on Wednesday, November 3 at 12:45 pm – Renoir Theatre (No RSVP)

THE HAPPY HOUR TALK: “Bertrand Tavernier and his American friends”
With Joe Dante, Taylor Hackford, Howard A. Rodman and Irwin Winkler
Free – On Wednesday November 3 at 3:pm – Renoir Theatre. (No RSVP), followed by a wine and cheese reception.

AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY DIRECTOR JEREMY KAGAN (as part of the DGA’s Visual History Program (2 x 15’)
Free – On loop – Every day from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm – Lobby of the DGA
(Ask for headphones at the Box Office)


Bertrand Tavernier was born in 1941 in Lyon and grew up surrounded by the intellectuals and members of the French Resistance who were acquaintances of his father, a well-known writer and poet. Enthralled by American westerns as a child — especially John Ford’s Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) — he knew he wanted to be a film director at 13 and founded a ciné club in his youth. Yet he studied law at the Sorbonne, eventually abandoning a law career in favor of film criticism, writing for Positif, Cahiers du Cinéma and other film journals. Legendary director Jean-Pierre Melville took note of his work and asked him to work as his assistant director. However, he quickly realized that Tavernier was not cut out for the job and instead helped him land a position as publicist for celebrated film producer Georges de Beauregard. As a publicist, he worked for many French New Wave and American directors, learning from them all: Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Charbrol, Agnès Varda, Raoul Walsh, Howard Hawks, Joseph Losey, Elia Kazan and his idol John Ford.

In 1974, Tavernier finally co-wrote and directed his first feature film, The Clockmaker of St. Paul. He went on to write and direct more than 25 features and documentaries, including Let Joy Reign Supreme (1975), The Judge and the Assassin (1976), Death Watch (1980), , Coup de Torchon (1981), A Sunday in the Country (1984), Round Midnight (1986), Life and Nothing But (1989), Fresh Bait (1995), Captain Conan (1996), It all Starts Today (1999), Safe Conduct (2002), In the Electric Mist (2009), The Princess of Montpensier (2010), The French Minister (2013), and his acclaimed documentary My Journey Through French Cinema (2016), as well as 2017-18 documentary series of the same name.

Ever the film buff, he continued to write books and essays throughout his life, like the voluminous 50 Ans de Cinéma Américain, and was well-known for championing films and filmmakers who had been treated unkindly by others. Renowned film editor Thelma Schoonmaker has written, “Bertrand’s desire to right the wrongs of cinema history has a direct connection to the themes of justice that pervade his own films.” Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival, has called Tavernier “tireless” in his advocacy.

Over the course of his career, he has been honored with five César Awards for Best Director or Best Screenplay, an SACD Award, the Prix Louis Delluc, a Lumière Award, and the 1990 BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Film for Life and Nothing But. He has garnered awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, The French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, Fotogramas de Plata, and the European Film Awards. He has also won numerous festival prizes at the Venice, Tokyo, San Sebastián, Norwegian, Istambul, Fort Lauderdale, Faro Island, Denver, Brussels, Boston, and Bergamo Film Festivals, along with the 1984 Best Director Award at Cannes for A Sunday in the Country; and six awards at various Berlin Film Festivals, including the 1995 Golden Bear for Fresh Bait.

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