Friday 14 October 2016

Journey from Pordenone 2016 - Barrie Pattison swings back through Paris and sees Bertrand Tavernier's doco on the French Cinema

Bertrand Tavernier
It’s kind of suitable that the end of my European movie excursion should be Bertrand Tavernier's Voyage a travers le cinema francais (France, 2016), his three hour plus answer to the Martin Scorsese films about his own discovery of US and Italian movies. 

It's like talking to Tavernier himself. I keep on wanting to disagree with what he's saying while admiring the passion behind his choices and there's always the moment of connection - our shared delight in Delannoy's "Von Sternbergian" Macao, l’enfer du jeu (France, 1939) which gets early prominence along with Renoir and Gabin - and Eddie Constantine and Jean Sacha.

Edmond T Greville
I loved the story of Edmond T Greville (‘the ultimate cult director” – well his Mlle Docteur (France, 1937) is better than the Pabst film it cannibalises) being told by Von Stroheim that he intends to wear a toga in his role and Greville, desperate, coming up with the half face mask to cover the character's WW1 injuries - the Janus face, War and Peace. The Von was totally absorbed and forgot about the toga.

Usually beautiful copies in the correct format - I sweat on it turning up locally with subtitles. The Taverrnier documentary packed the 2.00 o’clock at UGC Les Halles

Editor’s note: Wikipedia advises further on the matter of the Pabst/Greville film Mademoiselle Docteur which acquired the English title Street of Shadows. "Street of Shadows is a 1937 French spy film directed by G. W. Pabst. An English-language version with exactly the same plot was filmed at the same time under the direction of Edmond T. Gréville, but with some changes in the cast." Now you know.

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