Satyajit Ray & Mrinal Sen influenced me: French filmmaker

PTI, PANAJI | 24 November 2011 23:58 IST

Renowned French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier says Indian classics made by Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen have greatly influenced him.

Tavernier, whose passion for films since the age of 14, has led to movies like 'The Clockmaker' and 'The Princess of Montpensier'.

He was felicitated at IFFI with life time achievement award.

"I have seen a few Indian films which are now considered classics. I have learnt a lot from Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Shyam Benegal. I like to discover other cultures. Indian films have had a big impact on me, especially 'Mother India' by Mehboob Khan," he said on the sidelines of the India International Film Festival (IIFI) here.

Even though he has watched Indian films, the 70-year-old, who was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award here last evening, is sad that the people in the country are not exposed to French cinema.

"It is weird to be awarded my first lifetime achievement in a country where no one has seen my films. Only American films are shown on Indian television... its a paradox, only America seems to exist. A director is selfish, he wants everybody to watch his films," said Tavernier.

His passion for films began at an early age and Tavernier says it was his father who helped him channel his love for cinema.

"My father was a poet and a very literate man. I loved watching films from an early age. I became a film buff, but turned into a movie critic by accident. But I always wanted to write and make films, and not review them."

His films range from thrillers to mysteries and crime dramas. "I was making Westerns in France, which is a mad thing to do," joked Tavernier. The filmmaker, who began his cinematic journey with 'The Clockmaker' in 1974, says he doesn't make films for anybody and tries not to think of the audience. But he is concerned about the growing ignorance about cinema in the current generation.

"When I am making a film I try not to think of the audience. I try to please myself first. But these days the younger generation is exposed to the internet. They want to succeed fast and are impatient to make money. They don't want to learn and are happy in their ignorance. I even made a film 'Bait' - about such young people, based on a true story.

"But I am not ready to surrender to that. I still believe that cinema is a medium through which you can create passion." The filmmaker is currently working on a project based on the French foreign affairs ministry.

"I have just finished writing the screenplay of a comedy about the French ministry of foreign affairs - how it was functioning in a state of complete chaos. It is not based on any particular minister though," he said. Tavernier also said he loves Indian food and would love to film in India someday

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