Acclaimed French director Bertrand Tavernier has died at 79

Bertrand Tavernier poses with a trophy.
Director Bertrand Tavernier poses with his Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2015 Venice Film Festival.
(Andrew Medichini / Associated Press)

French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, who directed lauded movies such “A Sunday in the Country,” “Captain Conan” and “The Judge and the Assassin,” has died, according to his family. He was 79.

Tavernier’s wife and children said Thursday that he died in Sainte-Maxime, a community in southeastern France. The Lyon-born director left behind a legacy of 30 films that included performances by stars of French cinema such as Romy Schneider, Isabelle Huppert and Dirk Bogarde.

Tributes for Tavernier and his work came from far and wide. Former French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Tavernier’s films would “remain masterpieces of French cinema.”


Born April 25, 1941, Tavernier wore various caps during his career in cinema. He worked as an assistant director, press officer and critic took a turn toward directing. He first found success with 1974’s “The Watchmaker of St. Paul,” and 1976’s “The Judge and the Assassin” won two César Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars. The 1991 movie “Daddy Nostalgia” was famous for being Bogarde’s final screen role.

Although Tavernier was less well-known in the English-speaking world, his 1987 feature film about a fictional jazz musician, “Round Midnight,” won Herbie Hancock an Oscar for best original score.

Tavernier was married to French-Irish screenwriter Claudine O’Hagan, better known as Colo Tavernier, from 1965 to 1980. O’Hagan died last June. They had two children together: writer Tiffany Tavernier and director and actor Nils Tavernier.

Colo Tavernier wrote the screenplay for several of her husband’s films and won the César for best adaptation for “A Sunday in the Country” in 1985.