Endowment brings Tavernier to College

Critically acclaimed French film director Bertrand Tavernier will visit the College this Friday for three days as a Montgomery Fellow.

The College is also trying to line up political reporters to visit the College as Montgomery Fellows later this term.

The Montgomery Endowment invites prominent individuals from a variety of disciplines to visit the College and give lectures or teach classes in their areas of expertise.

Tavernier is a highly acclaimed director, responsible for such films as “Round Midnight” and “A Sunday in the Country.”

“He is France’s greatest director since the New Wave,” Director of Hopkins Center Bill Pence said. “Tavernier is the world’s greatest expert on American film.”

“He’s a very gregarious, open and friendly man who speaks perfect English,” he said, suggesting that Tavernier is likely to make many friendships with the students at the College.

Professor of Film Studies Mark Williams acclaimed Tavernier’s filmmaking abilities.

“One of the things most impressive to me is his range,” Williams said. “His films address a variety of topics across historical periods.”

“He continues to make very eloquent and insightful films,” he added.

Executive Director of the Montgomery Endowment Barbara Gerstner said she is optimistic about Tavernier’s visit this weekend.

“He’s not a household name like Wilma Mankiller so they may not know his name as well but I hope that students realize what a wonderful opportunity they have,” Gerstner said.

Tavernier is only able to spend three days at the College because he is between the shooting and the post production stages of a film, Pence said.

“He’s giving Dartmouth more time than any other visit,” he said.

During his trip to the US, Tavernier will visit six major cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“He’s making a rare trip to the United States from France to visit six major cities so a wonderful opportunity came along,” Gerstner said.

“It’s unfortunate that he can only stay three days,” she said. “The choice was to take the shorter time or have him not at all, and so we seized the opportunity.”

The College is also in the process of inviting political reporters to be Montgomery Fellows later this term.

“We’re working on a journalist series and have one person already,” Gerstner said, declining to mention their choice.

But the series is only tentatively planned so far.

“They’re all very busy with the political campaigns so we may have to change it,” she said.

“It’s very difficult top get someone to leave their position for a three month or ten week period,” Gerstner continued.

Gerstner said that short visits by Montgomery Fellows are only coincidental and will not be a future trend.

“Mankiller came for the full year and we had a full term visitor die sometime after the holidays,” she said.

Ernest Gellner, a prominent social anthropologist and philosopher, died in early January.

The Hopkins Center will offer a tribute to Tavernier in a program on Friday at 7 p.m. His latest film, “L’Appat,” or “Fresh Bait,” will be screened along with other selected clips of his work.

On Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m., Tavernier will join Thierry Fremaux, director of the Institut Lumiere, to present The Films of Lumiere, a program that includes approximately 30 film shorts. The two will provide live narration to accompany the program.

The Films of Lumiere was “rapturously received” by a full house audience at the Telluride Film Festival, Pence said. “It was the hit of the festival.”

“Since the premiere of ‘The Crying Game’ about five years ago, it was the most popular program we’ve ever had,” Pence said.

“It was an incredibly moving experience,” he said. “People were in tears by the end.”

Pence said he expects the Lumiere program will be similarly received by this weekend’s audiences at the Hopkins Center.

“It is a very exciting experience to see him explain what was happening as cinema was being invented,” Pence said.

Tavernier will also conduct discussions with students and faculty members.

“Tavernier does not speak down to his audience,” Pence said. “I would think that the program is for a lay audience as well as a highly professional audience.”

The screening of “L’Appat,” his last film, is an equally important, though quite different, segment of Tavernier’s visit.

“L’Appat” won the grand prize at the Berlin Film Festival, Pence said.

“It is a contemporary crime film about youth, a new departure for Tavernier,” he said.

Tavernier has successfully explored various themes in his many films, according to several film experts.

“I would put him in a class with [director] Francis Coppola,” Pence said. “He makes films that are not just on the surface but something deeper.”

Tickets to this weekend’s events are $6 general admission and $3 for Dartmouth students.

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