Lynn Anthony Higgins
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The documentary gaze
in Bertrand Tavernier
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This chapter examines the predilection for documentary modes of representation that runs through Bertrand Tavernier's career from its beginnings. He navigates generic parameters so as to privilege what we might call his documentary gaze on the world. Tavernier's passion for documentary helps explain, and resolve, his perennial disregard for generic coherence and narrative continuity. Although La Mort en direct/Deathwatch is a fiction, its photojournalist protagonist shapes the film into a parable or meta-documentary. The first documentary to invite that Algerian war's ordinary French soldiers to share their memories, La Guerre sans nom is credited with breaking the silence of repression and taboo. A number of works can hardly be classified as documentaries, but they are not entirely fictional either. L.627, L'Appât, Ça commence aujourd'hui, and Holy Lola scrutinize crises in the respective realms of narcotics police, juvenile delinquency, a school in a poor community, and international adoption.

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