Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas

CLOCKMAKER, THE
(L'Horloger de Saint-Paul)

 

Year: 1974
Country: France
Run Time: 105 minutes

CLOCKMAKER, THE

THE CLOCKMAKER was Bertrand Tavernier's first movie, and it won the French Academy Award for best picture. Like Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, the 35-year-old Tavernier began his career as a movie critic for "Cahiers du Cinema." Unlike those aging young turks, Tavernier isn't particularly in rebellion against an older generation of film artists. Indeed, in some respects, THE CLOCKMAKER bridges the cultural generation gap, for it was co-scripted by those stalwart septuagenarians, Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost, who also wrote such excellent movies as "Devil in the Flesh" (1946) and "Forbidden Games" (1951). Based on a Georges Simenon novel, THE CLOCKMAKER is one of those low-key French films like "Lacombe, Lucien" (1974) which explore crime and politics only obliquely. The criminal elements of the movie are really a pretext for exploring more intimate personal relationships - in this case between a stolid petit bourgeois of Lyons and his political activist son, who has killed a man and is fleeing from the police. The generation gap is only one of Tavernier's themes, however, for the director is equally concerned with exploring the parallel relationship between the clockmaker (Philippe Noiret) and the the police investigator (Jean Rochefort), who also has a son he doesn't understand. The film has been lavishly praised for its meticulous detail, its unrelenting yet uninsistent pace and, above all, for its superb performances. Jack Kroll of "Newsweek" wrote: "If there is a better film actor than Noiret in the world right now, I haven't seen him." Several commentators have pointed out that the movie is rather glib in its treatment of the morality of crime, however swinish the victim may have been. However, Tavernier's main interest is not with crime itself, but with its mysteriously subtle origins and its psychological and spiritual repercussions.

Screenplay
Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost and Bertrand Tavernier (from a novel by Georges Simenon)

Producer
Raymond Danon (Lira Films)

Cinematography
Pierre William Glenn

Editing
Armand Psenny

Principal Cast
Philippe Noiret, Jean Rochefort, Jacques Denis, Clotilde Joano, Andree Tainsy, William Sabatier, Sylvain Rougerie, Christine Pascal, Julien Bertheau

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