His Questions de Principe Cinq [Questoins of Principle V] is published (Livre de Poche). His father, André Lévy, dies on November 5.
His “Le Lys et la Cendre”, sub-titled Journal d’un écrivain au temps de guerre en Bosnie [The Lily and the Ash, Journal of a Writer in War-torn Bonia] is published by Grasset. In addition to making a fervent plea on behalf of Bosnia, this book presents his on-the-scene impressions of such figures as Margaret Thatcher, Pope Jean-Paul II, and François Mitterrand, while eloquently evoking André Malraux.
Co-written with Jean-Paul Enthoven, Lévy’s first fiction film, Le Jour et la Nuit [Night and Day] is filmed in Mexico starring Alain Delon, Arielle Dombasle and Lauren Bacall, among others. Touching on themes of passion, art, and literature, it is included in the official selection of the 1997 Berlin Film Festival but is a resounding critical and commercial failure.
After the film’s “flop,” Bernard-Henri Lévy leaves for Tangiers where he writes the most personal of his books, Comédie [Grasset], in which he self-deprecatingly mocks what he refers to as his “puppet”, serving up biting self-criticism of “BHL”. Comédie is also a lucid analysis of the “society of the spectacle” and of the Gary/Ajar affair. In this moving confession, the author rips off the mask. “Self-portrait, not self-fiction,” he says. Not a putting on stage, but a putting into question.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is decorated with the Shield by the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina for services rendered to the country; one of only three French recipients of this honour, along with Bernard Kouchner and General Philippe Morillon. Having consistently expressed his refusal to accept any official honours, and having repeatedly declined inclusion in France’s Légion d’Honneur here he clearly makes an exception.
Through La Règle du Jeu he relentlessly campaigns for support for Algerian democrats.
Ten years after the fatwa, Bernard-Henri Lévy publishes Avec Salman Rushdie, Questions de Principe Six (Le Livre de Poche), a small volume evoking the hunted author’s year of suffering and BHL’s association with him. Olivier Nora replaces Jean-Claude Fasquelle as the President of Grasset. Bernard-Henri Lévy joins the board of directors.