Tavernier vs. Rosenbaum

From: Bertrand Tavernier, Paris, France


Read and loved your defense of Bergman. Everything you say, all the points you raise, are valid, make sense and refute the vicious attacks of this sometimes brilliant but very often intolerant and rigid writer. He [Jonathan Rosenbaum] has a lot of pre-conceived opinions and for him a lot of films and directors are presumed guilty before being heard or seen. You have a right to dislike Bergman or Herman Melville or Malraux. You have the right to prefer Raymond Chandler or Balzac or Eudora Welty to Heidegger or Ezra Pound. But nobody forces you to write that, to take a public position against the artist you do not like. Most of the time the essays and books written against are forgettable or narrow-minded. You can like Dreyer and Bresson without firing at Bergman or Fellini. It was the great mistake of some of the best French critics such as Francois Truffaut; to defend Hitchcock, which was an important cause, he felt the obligation to wipe out the entire British cinema. To push Rosselini, Ophuls or Jacques Becker (have seen recently his “Touchez Pas au Grisbi” and the very modern description of the aging gangster, very innovative), you had to eliminate De Sica, Duvivier or Autant-Lara. To praise Mann you had to kill Delmer Daves. It seems that Mr Rosenbaum, who has been impressed by the new wave, has learnt more the intolerance than the perception.


The writer, who began as a film critic, has directed 27 feature films.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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