Bertrand Tavernier during the closing ceremony of the Lumière Festival, in Lyon, in 2014. -

Fabrice Elsner / SIPA

  • Bertrand Tavernier died Thursday at the age of 79.

  • The director of

    L'Horloger de Saint-Paul

    was a figure of Lyon, his birthplace.

  • “Lyon taught me to take root in a place.

    I am provincial and happy to be it, I do not feel Parisian ”, he declared in 2015.

Since the announcement of the death of Bertrand Tavernier, this Thursday, at the age of 79, Lyon has been in mourning.

To measure how much the director matters to the city, just go to the corner of rue de la Martinière and quai Saint-Vincent, a stone's throw from Place des Terreaux.

There, on a section of wall of 800 square meters extends the

Fresque des Lyonnais

, a work bringing together the most illustrious personalities of the capital of the Gauls.

There we find the martyr Sainte-Blandine, the aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the doctor Claude Bernard or even the architect Tony Garnier.

Twenty-four local “stars” are represented from one floor to another, following a clever chronological distribution.

On the ground floor, six men appear, who had the honor of appearing during their lifetime on this fresco produced in the mid-1990s. A sextet of "contemporaries" composed of Abbé Pierre, Paul Bocuse , Bernard Pivot, Bernard Lacombe, Frédéric Dard and, you guessed it, Bertrand Tavernier.

"Lyon taught me to take root in a place"

Even if he hasn't lived his whole life - far from it!

- in the Rhône, Bertrand Tavernier has earned his place on this kind of

Wall of fame


Born in April 1941 in the Montchat district, east of Lyon, he left the city when he was not ten years old, his parents having decided, in 1950, to settle in Paris.

“Lyon taught me to take root in a place.

I am provincial and happy to be it, I do not feel Parisian ”, he will say in 2015 while receiving, at the Mostra of Venice, a Golden Lion for the whole of his work.

He claimed to have "great loyalty" to his hometown.

And he has often shown it.

From his first film,

L'horloger de Saint-Paul

, in 1974, whose action takes place in the district of Vieux-Lyon mentioned in the title.

A setting that he did not choose at random: it is an adaptation of a novel by Georges Simenon,

The Watchmaker of Everton

, the plot was therefore knowingly moved from the English city to on the banks of the Saône.

"Lyon is sad"

In his feature films, he often sought to reproduce the “dark interiors” and “high ceilings” specific to the city where the interiors were built to house the huge looms of the Canuts.

From Lyon, he also loved the “culture of discretion” and had kept a vibrant memory of the neighborhood cinemas where he saw his love of cinema germinate.

He will also explain that it is in memory of these young years that he accepted to chair the Lumière Institute, a temple of cinephilia installed since the 1980s in place of one of the Lumière Brothers' hangars.

A place of preservation of heritage and transmission which has hosted since 2009 a festival bringing together every autumn the gratin of the world's seventh art.

President Bertrand Tavernier was always there.

If he died in Sainte-Maxime, in the Var, Lyon was Thursday the epicenter of the emotional reactions to the announcement of his death.

"Monument of the 7th art, passionate director, his work has made Lyon the city of cinema, and of cinema a universal heritage", greeted the ecological mayor Grégory Doucet.

“Lyon is sad.

We are losing a lover of our cinematographic heritage and a huge creator, ”tweeted Renaud Payre, vice-president of the Metropolis.

Even Olympique Lyonnais went there to pay tribute to this "lover of Lyon and cinema".

Bertrand Tavernier has his place on the Fresque des Lyonnais.


Director Bertrand Tavernier is dead


From "The Watchmaker of Saint-Paul" to "Quai d'Orsay", close-up on five great films by Bertrand Tavernier

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