Truth Often More Exciting than Screenplay: Bertrand Tavernier Discusses Music in Film

radionica tavernije

Following the screening of ‘Round Midnight by Bertrand Tavernier, a stylized biographical story about an American jazz musician in Paris, the French director gave an enchanting and very interactive workshop. He started off by discussing the difficulties of making the film in the US:

“The film was made just because one man believed it in. One man who was also the only man in Hollywood who believed in the future of video… The Warner Brothers did not believe in this film so much that they sold their record rights to Sony and Sony then made 18 gold records. This was incredible.”

Tavernier spoke about the use of music in film:

“Live music in the film was completely revolutionary. I could use playback. But jazz is about taking risk. They take risk every evening. Scorsese tried to do this in New York, New York! but he failed. We did it. The entire music was recorded live.”

Asked to comment about his reputation of being an ardent researcher before writing his screenplays, Tavernier said that this was not because he wanted to make documentary-like films:

“Truth is sometimes more exciting than screenplay. Truth is more interesting than anything you could invent.”

Commenting on differences between American and European productions and ideologies, Bertrand Tavernier noted:

“In US cinema it is about a lone wolf against everyone. And who alone sorts everything out. European cinema is based on doubt. And I have always believed in group fight. You need help. I would have never been able to shoot these films alone. I needed help. I was helped by some people who believed in me”.

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