Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jean Aurenche's story

continues from: The Bernanos Letter

from La Suite à l'écran : entretiens by Jean Aurenche, a book of interviews of Jean Aurenche which was published by the Institut Lumière. Bertrand Tavernier is the president of that institution and he served as one of Aurenche's interviewers, although the book never credits the interviewer so it is not possible to know who Jean Aurenche was talking to here.

"Let me speak of a failure: Diary of a Country Priest. It was a good book on which I worked with Bost. Departing from my principles, I even envisaged directing this upcoming film with a producer who was interested. I went to show the adaptation to Bernanos who was residing on the seacoast near Tunis. Our project scarcely interested him. He listened politely to a reading of the script and said, “I won’t be opposed to your making the film, but I find nothing of my novel in it.”

Two points here. The first goes without saying, Jean Aurenche's account of his meeting with Georges Bernanos comes nowhere close to tallying with the account that Bernanos gives in his letter. The second point which should be noted is that
Aurenche does not seem to have been asked to specify his reaction to the publication of A Certain Tendency. So, there seems to be no evidence that Jean Aurenche ever knew that Pierre Bost lent the screenplay for Diary of a Country Priest to François Truffaut. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other whether he knew or not; Pierre Bost would not have had to tell Aurenche when he lent Truffaut the script that he had, but he certainly might have told him. So, Aurenche could have read A Certain Tendency in January 1954 and simply assumed that Truffaut had used the Bernanos letter as his source. This leads to an alternative theory as to why Bost did not show Aurenche Truffaut's letter. If Bost had not told Aurenche that he had lent Truffaut that screenplay before Truffaut's piece was published, then, once that article was published, Bost might not have wanted to admit to Aurenche what that he had made the "mistake" of lending Truffuat that screenplay.

Matter for study-- what did Aurenche tell Samedi-Soir in October 1947?

continues at: Pierre Bost's letter

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