This chapter presents introductory remarks on the French filmmaker, Bertrand
Tavernier, and his works. It also highlights the key concepts discussed in
other chapters of the book. Tavernier has made twenty-one feature films, six
documentaries, and several short films. Tavernier's oeuvre is
unified by a recognizable constellation of ideas at its core. Born in Lyons,
and cinephile from an early age, Tavernier is possessed of an
'invraisemblable culture cinématographique'. He grew from a
voracious moviegoer, through a film critic, to a director's assistant.
He possesses the legendary Lyonnais gourmandise matched by an
appetite for knowledge, for books, for movies, for experience, for friends,
for conversation (especially about the cinema), and for involvement in
controversies. The chapter discusses his Lyon, le regard intérieur,
and his 'merveilleux lyonnais' ties filmmaking to the magic of
childhood. The chapter also looks at his works as a literary filmmaker.
As moving pictures became a reality during 1895-6, Europe's crowned heads discovered the new medium and what it could do for their image. The earliest royal films made in Britain showed Victoria's extended family with a new informality, and were eagerly viewed by their subjects. However, it was the staging of Victoria's 1897 Diamond Jubilee as a vast procession through London, filmed by 18 companies whose products were distributed throughout Britain and the distant territories of the Empire, that showed how powerfully film could project the monarchy in a new way - immediate, accessible and impressive. Victoria's successors, her sons Edward and George, came to the throne having grasped the potential of film. Meanwhile, two of her relations Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas, were also the subjects of early filming Nicholas's coronation in 1896 was the first such event to be recorded on film, but a record of the disaster that followed, when thousands were killed in a crowd panic, was quickly suppressed. Nicholas would remain suspicious of film as a mass medium, while enjoying it as a private family record, until he gave permission for a film to celebrate the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913 - the same year that a full-scale acted tribute to Victoria, Sixty Years a Queen, appeared.