Tavernier quit law school to write film criticism for CAHIERS DU CINEMA and other major journals, worked as an assistant director and publicist (e. g., for Jean-Pierre Melville) and authored a couple of books on American cinema before making his first feature, "The Clockmaker" (1973). Adapted from a Georges Simenon novel (and transposed from the USA to Tavernier's home town), it is an intelligent, studied debut with finely-tuned performances, which won a Special Jury Prize at the 1974 Berlin Film Festival, the Prix Louis Delluc in France, and established Tavernier's reputation. His subsequent works have been equally well-crafted, displaying an affecting confluence of French and American cinematic styles. Tavernier's other noted films include "Clean Slate" (1981), a bold adaptation of Jim Thompson's "Pop. 1280," set not in the US South, but in French North Africa, and "'Round Midnight" (1986), a smooth, pseudo-biopic of a black-American jazz musician in 1950s Paris. Tavernier is separated from screenwriter Colo Tavernier Hagan, who has worked on several of his films, and the father of actor Nils Tavernier, who appeared in, among others, "Beatrice" (1987).