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Bertrand Tavernier - Public Interview with The Irish Times' Tara Brady

The Symposium welcomed leading French director Bertrand Tavernier who actively participated in many of the Symposium events over the four days, and was himself the focus of a public interview which was facilitated by Tara Brady of The Irish Times, who insightfully discussed key elements of the French Master’s life’s work and career for the attending audience, referencing the French new wave movement, Cahiers du Cinema along with his love and admiration for John Ford and his influence from the outset.

Legendary French Master of filmmaking Bertrand Tavernier will participate in a rare and unprecedented public interview giving film lovers and fans of French cinema an opportunity to hear him discuss his lifetime of work and the influence of Ford on both his long and distinguished career as well as on the French New Wave cinema era. This is preceded by a screening of Tavernier’s classic ‘Round Midnight’, the Academy-Award winning film of an enigmatic but tortured jazz musician living in 1950’s Paris. The film, which features an onscreen appearance from Tavernier’s friend Martin Scorsese, stands today as the one of the most authentic portrayals of the jazz world ever put on screen. A writer, director and producer Tavernier began as a film critic and writer for the iconic French publication ‘Cahiers du Cinema’ for which he interviewed John Ford in the early sixties. This meeting was later published in the directors ‘American Friends’ book. He subsequently became a film publicist, building a close relationship with Ford as he worked on his films throughout the decade, before making his debut film in 1974 with ‘The Clockmaker of Saint Paul’. Across his forty-year filmmaking career French master Tavernier has made over 25 feature films including ‘A Sunday in the Country’, ‘Round Midnight’, ‘Death Watch’ and ‘Life and Nothing But’. He is renowned worldwide and has won major accolades across the globe including BAFTA, Golden Bear, Best Director at Cannes Film Festival and European Film Awards. Tavernier has attributed the beginnings of his career to Ford and has spoken frequently of his love and admiration for the master director. Speaking about travelling to Dublin for the Symposium the director has described how;

“John Ford made me what I am...I was 13 and I saw ‘Fort Apache’ and ‘She Wore A Yellow Ribbon’ in the same week. I suddenly felt and understood that one could write with images as with words. I decided then that I wanted to be a filmmaker, and this relationship with Ford and with his films has never stopped” Tavernier’s classic ‘Round Midnight' is the wistful and tragic story of Dale Turner, an enigmatic but tortured Jazz saxophonist living in 1950’s Paris. The film won real-life jazz legend Herbie Hancock an Academy Award for his soundtrack and an acting nomination for its lead star Dexter Gordon, in his film debut. ‘Round Midnight’ also features a rare onscreen appearance from Tavernier’s own friend Martin Scorsese and has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most authentic and affectionate presentations of the jazz world on the silver screen”.


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