Solemn condolences and melancholy tidings in the matter of Bertrand Tavernier, who has passed at age 79. A great director (Coup de Torchon, Round Midnight, A Sunday in the Country, Let Joy Reign Supreme, Life and Nothing But, In The Electric Mist, The Princess of Montpensier), a brilliant fellow, French to the core but an internationalist, an avid cineaste and warm acquaintance to journalists the world over.

Monsieur Tavernier was simply a magnificent human being and a consummate Renaissance man — warm, gentle-mannered, passionate, knew everything and everyone. I was transported when I realized about 15 years ago that Tavernier was an HE reader, and doubly if not triply elevated when I met him at a journo gathering in Cannes a year or two later. We first chatted at the Algonquin Hotel in ’81 or ’82, during a press interview for Coup do Torchon. Quite the occasion.

We last met almost exactly a decade ago (3.9.11), during a French Consulate press encounter for The Princess of Montpensier, which might be my favorite Tavernier of all. Right now I can hear Bertrand whispering to me from heaven, telling me to stand tall and hold fast against the demonic Twitter jackals (I don’t know for a fact that he hated wokesters but I’m 98% certain of this) and to keep the cinema-love faith.