My Journey Through French Cinema

Studio: Cohen Media Group
Directed by Bertrand Tavernier

Jun 23, 2017 Web Exclusive
Bookmark and Share

Bertrand Tavernier has been in and around French cinema for over half a century, gleaning what he can from the greats and working in numerous roles. He’s tried a spot of acting, produced, served as an assistant director and publicist, eventually establishing himself as a writer and director. All this is put to use over the course of a three hour plus stroll through various figures from the first few decades of French film history.

The title is very much an accurate summation of what Tavernier is trying to achieve here. He’s not providing a comprehensive account of French cinema, nor is he particularly focused on specific themes. It’s not a behind-the-scenes exposé either, although plenty of fascinating anecdotes emerge along the way. Instead, Tavernier picks out mostly directors, a couple of composers and an actor, and explains what it was that they did so well.

It’s loosely connected to his own progression, hence the title. He starts with people who first instilled a love of film in him—Jacques Becker and Jean Renoir features heavily here—and moves forward to the likes of Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Sautet. Sometimes Tavernier appears himself, but mostly it’s his voice talking over clips with the occasional addition of footage from interviews or TV appearances involving the people he’s discussing.

The documentary jumps between different figures, but it never rushes. He takes his time before moving onto the next person. Some, like Jean Gabin or Melville are given a lot more time, others are lesser known but fascinating figures like composer Joseph Kosma who worked with Renoir amongst others.

Without turning it into an endless parade of gossip, a wonderful collection of stories emerges anyway. We learn Melville and actor Lino Ventura communicated only through an assistant during the filming of Army of Shadows. Again, with Ventura, Sautet sat with him during evening meals while making Classe tous risques to make sure his star didn’t eat too much and gain weight. There are asides on Godard’s desire to meet only his harshest critics amongst film journalists, and the negative reaction François Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player received from a French audience.

As fun as these snippets are, what really comes across is Tavernier’s love of film, and his intimate knowledge of the components that make the best movies work. He talks of Melville’s “maniacal precision” with setting up reverse angle shots, and the way he used every corner of the studio, right down to connecting corridors, in his film sets. He admired Gabin’s ability to bring out vulnerability in characters, or Eddie Constantine’s aptitude when it came to fight scenes.

It’s a long ride, entirely male-focused with a preponderance of crime films, but it’s also his personal journey and to feature anything else wouldn’t be right. At its best, My Journey Through French Cinema shows different ways to look at films, and at its worst it still gives plenty of excellent recommendations.

Author rating: 7/10

Rate this movie


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

July 3rd 2017

Wow, thank you so much for the review. this one is interesting. I have not watched it yer. I am going to watch it tomorrow on my movie app. One box hd ( has so many movies and this is a very good companion to watch movies at any time & any place.

ALt Balaji
July 20th 2017
Great article. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

Alexi ROg
July 27th 2017

Hey thanks alot for this article and by the way download OneBox HD from to watch your favorite shows and movies for free.

July 27th 2017

French movies are one of the best out there and this generation will love to go through some of the amazing vintage movies, btw download supercells latest game brawlstars for free from

August 16th 2017

It is a nice and very informatic.

August 16th 2017

It is a nice and very informatic.

August 18th 2017

The presence of the music track also allows the user to made personalized version. Keeping the track is capable by making the playlist. Do you happy enjoying a new music to hear? Share it with your friend through the real time sharing options. With its high quality of song, JOOX Music for Android is pretty recommended for you who want to play music on demand.

August 18th 2017

priority mail express international
August 21st 2017

Another big no-no. In fact, covering a box in paper is not a good idea at all because the paper can get caught in the processing machines and ripped off. The package then priority mail express international goes to the undeliverable package graveyard and can’t be returned to the seller or delivered to the buyer because there is no information on the package. As for priority supplies, covering them in paper is a blatant attempt to circumvent paying the fees for priority mail.
Don’t do it.

September 16th 2017

Amazing article :)

September 22nd 2017

Thanks and must checkout everything about:

September 22nd 2017

Thanks and do checkout about

September 29th 2017


iOS AppValley<
November 11th 2017

Amazing and thanks alot!

November 11th 2017

Amazing and thanks alot! (

November 15th 2017

Thanks for such a lovely content.

Brawl Stars cheats
November 17th 2017

thanks for lots of information giving me. And article is very good

December 27th 2017

awesome content.

December 27th 2017

good article on french cinema

Brawl Stars
January 7th 2018

Very informative. Keep it up!
February 25th 2018

Download vidmate video downloader now! With vidmate you can download youtube videos for free.