CAPTAIN CONAN (CAPITAINE CONAN)
Wednesday, November 3 – Renoir Theatre – 12:45 pm
(Screening ends at 2:50 pm)
COLCOA CLASSICS – TRIBUTE TO BERTRAND TAVERNIER
Presented in Association with:
The American Cinematheque,
The French embassy in the United states
Special Screening Tribute to Bertrand Tavernier | France | 1997 | Drama, War | 130 min | 35mm print |
In French with English subtitles
Directed by: Bertrand Tavernier
Written by: Bertrand Tavernier, Jean Cosmos
Based on a Novel by: Roger Vercel
Produced by: Frédéric Bourboulon (Little Bear), Alain Sarde (Les Films Alain Sarde)
Cinematography: Alain Choquart
Film Editing: Luce Grunenwaldt
Score: Oswald d’Andrea
Cast: Philippe Torreton (Capt. Conan), Samuel Le Bihan (Norbert), Bernard Le Coq (Lt de Scève), Catherine Rich (Madeleine Erlane), François Berléand (Commandant Bouvier), Claude Rich (General Pitard de Lauzier), André Falcon (Colonel Voirin)
International Sales: Tamasa Distribution
U.S. Distributor: Rialto Films
The Balkans, 1918. Based on Roger Vercel’s Prix Goncourt-winning novel of the same name, Bertrand Tavernier’s 1996 Captain Conan follows the often less-than-heroic exploits of the dashing Captain Conan and his platoon during World War I and the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War. As visually beautiful as it is brutal, Tavernier’s almost painterly evocations of the violence of war probe the central question of what becomes of a soldier when the battles are over, and where do the values inherent in such savagery ultimately lead us and our humanity. Tavernier was honored with a César Award for Best Director for this film and Philippe Torrenton’s powerful performance earned him a César for Best Actor.
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), Death Watch (1980), The Judge and the Assassin (1976), 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 the 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.
Bertrand Tavernier died, at the age of 79, on March 25th of this year.