Bertrand Tavernier, a French director greatest identified within the United States for “’Round Midnight,” the 1986 movie that earned Dexter Gordon an Oscar nomination for his efficiency as a New York jazz musician making an attempt to get his life and profession on observe in Paris, died on Thursday in Sainte-Maxime, in southeastern France. He was 79.
The Institut Lumiere, a movie group in Lyon of which he was president, posted information of his demise on Facebook. The trigger was not given.
Mr. Tavernier made some 30 options and documentaries and was a daily on the movie pageant circuit, profitable the perfect director award at Cannes in 1984 for “A Sunday in the Country,” what Roger Ebert called “a graceful and delicate story about the hidden currents in a family” headed by an getting old painter residing outdoors Paris.
Mr. Tavernier had labored primarily as a movie critic and publicist till 1974, when he directed his first function, “The Clockmaker of St. Paul,” the story of a person whose son is accused of homicide. The film, extra character research than crime drama, rapidly established him in France and drew reward abroad.
“‘The Clockmaker’ is an extraordinary film,” Mr. Ebert wrote, “the more so because it attempts to show us the very complicated workings of the human personality, and to do it with grace, some humor and a great deal of style.”
The French actor Philippe Noiret performed the daddy in that film. The two would work collectively usually, and teamed up once more in 1976 in one other story a couple of assassin, “The Judge and the Assassin,” with Mr. Noiret taking part in the choose. The solid additionally included Isabelle Huppert, who would seem in different Tavernier movies.
Mr. Tavernier was quickly working with worldwide casts. “Death Watch,” a 1980 science fiction thriller, starred Harvey Keitel as a tv reporter who has an eye fixed changed with a digicam in order that he might surreptitiously movie the final days of a girl — performed by Romy Schneider — who appears to have a terminal illness.
“’Round Midnight” featured a solid stuffed with musicians — not solely Mr. Gordon, a famous saxophonist, but additionally Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and others, together with Herbie Hancock, who received an Oscar for his authentic rating.
“The screenplay, by Mr. Tavernier and David Rayfiel, is both rich and relaxed, with a style that perfectly matches the musicians’,” Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times. “Some of the talk may well be improvised, but nothing sounds improvised, but nothing sounds forced, and the film remains effortlessly idiosyncratic all the way through.”
Bertrand Tavernier was born on April 25, 1941, in Lyon to René and Ginette Tavernier. His father was a famous author and poet. In a 1990 interview with The Times, Mr. Tavernier described an remoted boyhood.
“My childhood was marked by loneliness because my parents didn’t get along well,” he stated. “And it’s coming out in every movie. I’ve practically never had a couple in my films.”
He talked about the affect of his hometown.
“It’s a very secretive city,” he defined. “My father used to say that in Lyon you learn that you must never lie but always dissemble, and it’s part of my films. The characters are often oblique in their relationships. Then there will be brief moments when they reveal themselves.”
He was curious about movie from a younger age, and his early jobs within the movie enterprise included press agent for Georges de Beauregard, a famous producer of the French New Wave. He additionally wrote about movie for Les Cahiers du Cinéma and different publications, and he continued to put in writing all through his profession — essays, books and extra. As a movie historian, he was identified for championing films, administrators and screenwriters who had been handled unkindly by others.
In the foreword to Stephen Hay’s 2001 biography, “Bertrand Tavernier: The Film-maker of Lyon,” Thelma Schoonmaker, the famous movie editor and widow of the director Michael Powell, credited Mr. Tavernier with resurrecting the popularity of Mr. Powell’s “Peeping Tom,” which was condemned when it was launched in 1960 however is now extremely regarded by many cinephiles.
“Bertrand’s desire to right the wrongs of cinema history has a direct connection to the themes of justice that pervade his own films,” she wrote.
Thierry Frémaux, the director of the Cannes pageant and of the Institut Lumière, stated Mr. Tavernier had been tireless in his advocacy.
“Bertrand Tavernier has built the body of work that we know, but he built something else: being at the service of the history of cinema, of all cinemas,” Mr. Frémaux stated by electronic mail. “He wrote books, he edited other people’s books, he did an extraordinary amount of film interviews, tributes to everyone he admired, film presentations.”
“I’m not sure there are any other examples in art history of a creator so dedicated to the work of others,” he added.
Mr. Tavernier’s personal movies typically set private tales amid sweeping moments of historical past. “Life and Nothing But” (1989), set in 1920, had as a backdrop the seek for a whole bunch of hundreds of French troopers nonetheless lacking in motion from World War I. “Safe Conduct” (2002) was about French filmmakers who labored through the German occupation in World War II.
But Mr. Tavernier wasn’t curious about historic spectacle for its personal sake.
“Often people come to me and say you should do a film about the French Resistance, but I say this is not a subject, this is vague,” he told Variety in 2019. “Tell me about a character who was one of the first members of the Resistance and who did things that people later in 1945 say must be judged as crimes. Then I have a character and an emotion that I can deal with.”
His survivors embrace his spouse, Sarah, and two kids, Nils and Tiffany Tavernier.
Mr. Tavernier slipped humor into his films, even a critical one like “Life and Nothing But,” which had a scene — with some foundation in actuality, he stated — by which a distraught military captain has to rapidly discover an “unknown soldier” to be positioned under the Arc de Triomphe.
“The rush to find the Unknown Soldier is completely true, though we had to guess how it took place,” Mr. Tavernier stated. “Just imagine: How do you find a body which is impossible to identify and still be sure he is French?”
Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting from Paris.