Simone de Beauvoir

And then there were three: Lanzmann in 1964 with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, with whom he had a seven-year affair

Claude Lanzmann, legendary director of Shoah, finally turns the camera on himself

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Legendary French documentary maker Claude Lanzmann finally turns the camera on himself. He talks to Tobias Grey about a lusty, youthful adventure in North Korea

Josette Day and Jean Marias in La Belle et La Bête, one of Cocteau’s most visually stunning films

Jean Cocteau: confessions of an opium addict

7 January 2017 9:00 am

All biography is both an act of homage and a labour of dissection, and all biographers are jealous of their…

Flamboyant intellectuals: René Descartes (main picture) and Bernard-Henri Lévy (below), in 1978

Liberty, philosophy and 246 types of cheese

20 June 2015 9:00 am

The French have always favoured grand, elegant abstractions about the human condition, says Ruth Scurr. It’s part of their national identity

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in 1946

Jean-Paul Sartre was perhaps the 20th century’s most famous thinker - if you can get beyond the verbiage

7 March 2015 9:00 am

Thomas R. Flynn has written an avowedly ‘intellectual biography’ of Jean-Paul Sartre, which might seem fitting. Sartre was nothing if…