Bertrand Tavernier, veteran French director of Round Midnight, dies aged 79

Acclaimed film-maker won a string of awards for a wide variety of films, including crime and film noir, as well as his celebrated film about a jazz musician

Bertrand Tavernier, the veteran French director of a host of acclaimed films including A Sunday in the Country, Round Midnight and These Foolish Things, has died aged 79. The news was announced by the Institut Lumière, the film organisation of which he was president. No cause of death was given.

Tavernier’s output was prolific: he made his directorial debut in 1974 with The Clockmaker of St Paul and worked continuously until 2013, when he released his final feature film, The French Minister. He also took in a wide variety of material, from crime and noir, to comedy, jazz and historical drama.

Born in Lyon in 1941, Tavernier was the son of magazine publisher René Tavernier, whose anti-Nazi principles would greatly influence Bertrand. Like the generation of French New Wave directors that slightly preceded him, Tavernier grew up as a film obsessive; having moved to Paris after the war, he founded his own magazine and managed to get a job as an assistant director to Jean-Pierre Melville on the 1961 film Léon Morin, Prêtre. By his own admission, he was so bad as an AD that Melville instead made him the publicist for its follow-up, Le Doulos. It was in this role that Tavernier made his first mark in the film industry, working as a publicist on a series of New Wave classics, including Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt and Agnés Varda’s Cleo de 5 à 7. “We were the first film publicists who were film buffs – we only accepted the films we liked,” he told the Guardian in 2008.

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Maria by Callas

A Feature film by Tom Volf

“There are two people in me, ‘Maria’ and ‘Callas’…”
A portrayal of an artist on a quest for perfection who became a global icon, a passionate woman with an extraordinary destiny, Maria by Callas is the story of a remarkable life told in the first person. Callas sheds light on Maria, revealing a diva as tempestuous as she is vulnerable—a moment of intimacy with a legendary figure, filled with all the emotion expressed by her unique voice.

Paris Can Wait, Macron’s Slackers, Office Space

By Michael Stevenson

PARIS CAN WAIT
Bonjour my friends!
Last night I watched the movie Paris Can Wait as a mindless diversion from Rachel Maddow’s frustratingly futile plans for a Trump impeachment and the continuous Harvey-Irma hurricane disaster reports. This cable news diversion was a bit more mindless than I could tolerate, however. Although I loved the many French restaurant dining scenes (particularly the Châteauneuf-du-Pape pouring into oversized wine glasses) and the footage of a curiously unoccupied Pont du Gard, I’ve seen better stories on The Hallmark Channel, watching with my 87 year old mother, while both of us drown-out the romcom dialogue with talk about our Red Sox. Mom loves Mookie.
This is the first feature film from Eleanor Coppola (the wife of Francis Ford Coppola) and the story is somewhat autobiographical, with lovely Diane Lane playing a recently empty-nested “Anne” (Coppola) who undertakes a surprise road trip from Cannes to Paris, alongside the flirtatious Frenchman Jacques (Arnaud Viard), who is a business associate of her husband (Alec Baldwin as the Francis Ford You-Know-Who character).
Will Jacques be nimble and quick enough to grab some nookie with Anne? After about 30 minutes you’ll stop caring about either of these graying cuties, and your only concern will be if the local wine shop is still open.

MACRON, LUMBERGH AND THE SLACKERS
Reuters News reports President Emmanuel Macron faces the first challenge on the streets to his business-friendly reform agenda today, when workers from the hard-left CGT union will march through French cities to protest against a loosening of labor regulations.  Macron told French business leaders: “I am fully determined and I won’t cede any ground, not to slackers, nor cynics, nor hardliners.”

Slackers? Mon Dieu!

My French friends – don’t fall for this shit! Ask any American worker if they would prefer your 35 hour work week and many holidays  to our 24/7/365 days-a-year model. Only the most jealous and/or deluded will claim ours is superior to yours in terms of overall health and happiness. Don’t allow Macron to become President Bill Lumbergh. You’ll be working Saturdays, mes amis.

BILL LUMBERGH, OFFICE SPACE
Speaking of Office Space, here’s some great clips from YouTube.