André Lévy was born in 1925 in Tientsin(now Tianjin ), China. His interest in this country became apparent during his primary studies at the Tientsin Municipal School. After obtaining his baccalaureate in philosophy and letters during the troubled time of the German occupation of France and being invited to work in the building the Atlantic Wall, he left the maquis of Auvergne to enrol in "Langues O", the institute of oriental languages. He graduated in Chinese and Hindi, while studying Sanskrit at the Sorbonne, where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in literature. He visited India and Ceylon several times, then became a research associate at the CNRS. In 1958, he was asked to take up the interim management of what remained of the EFEO (École Française d'Extrême Orient) in Hanoi, and then to close the site. A. Lévy then moved to Kyôto, whose university is renowned for its Chinese literature studies. He discovered his interest for ancient fiction literature in the language spoken in Hanoi, where Chinese bookshops still existed. In 1974, he defended his doctoral thesis on 17th century spoken language tales. In 1966, he left Kyoto for Hong Kong.
Most of his research and popularization work and publications relate to so-called pre-modern Chinese literature with a dozen books, about fifty articles, hundreds of notes and reviews. In 1995, he became professor emeritus of the University Bordeaux-III.
An illustrated bibliographical selection is presented at the end of the film.