This magnificently epic documentary from Bertrand Tavernier has been a lifetime in the making. Tavernier explores in a highly personal documentary the French films from the 30s through to the 70s that inspired him to start out as a director, showcasing long-lost films that he discovered during the production process. Tavernier knows his native cinema inside and out, from giants like Renoir, Godard, and Melville (for whom he worked as an assistant) to now overlooked figures like Edmond T. Gréville and Guy Gilles. He rediscovers and reassesses filmmakers, films, and composers, taking us on a voyage through time and stories.
Bertrand Tavernier is one of France’s most acclaimed directors. His film knowledge is voluminous, his love is inexhaustible, and his perspective is matched only by that of Martin Scorsese. Tavernier’s love affair with French cinema first began when he suffered from tuberculosis in post-World War Two in Lyon. He says that cinema gave him his inner strength to recover. “I would like this film to be an act of gratitude to all the filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors, and musicians who suddenly appeared in my life. Memory warms us up: this film is a bit of coal for winter nights.”