4 items from 2015
In 1962, two filmmakers met in a room at Universal Studios to discuss (what else?) cinema. Those directors were François Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock. (Providing assistance was French-language translator Helen Scott.) Together, they talked for over 50 hours, poring over every film the old master ever made. In 1967, Truffaut published what has universally come to be known as an essential text, titled Hitchcock/Truffaut, which contains rich and detailed transcripts of the extraordinary conversation.
Filmmaker Kent Jones‘ documentary about this historic meeting of the minds is now out, which inspired The Film Stage to look back at some of the forgotten, overlooked, and underrated films from these two beloved directors. The following ten titles contain all of the nuance, mystery and joy that we’ve come to expect from Hitchcock and Truffaut, with many overlapping themes and stylistic sensibilities.
Please enjoy the list, and don’t forget to suggest your own favorites in the comments. »
- Tony Hinds
Directed by François Truffaut
Riding high on the critical reputation of the French New Wave (if not its consistent box office success), and with The 400 Blows (1959), Shoot the Piano Player (1960), and Jules and Jim (1962) behind him, François Truffaut’s fourth feature is something rather different. There is still the same cinematic playfulness, a combination of genuine skill, pervasive influence, and a rampant passion for the medium itself, but with The Soft Skin (1964), Truffaut slows things down somewhat, takes a breath, matures. That’s not to say there weren’t adult themes in his earlier films (most certainly there were in Jules and Jim), but here, the entire tone of the film feels more aged, more serious, as if Truffaut was for the first time making a film explicitly for grown-ups, not just featuring them.
Nominated for the Palme »
- Jeremy Carr
This month, Criterion marches out a little know title from Francois Truffaut, 1964’s The Soft Skin. Technically his fifth feature, and following behind the monolithic success of Jules and Jim and the 1962 short “Antoine and Colette,” (which served as the second segment in what would flourish into his Antoine Doinel series), the feature did not receive a celebrated reception. Playing in competition at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival (marking the second and last time Truffaut would compete at the festival), the title has since lapsed into a sort of oblivion, which is not surprising considering the winner of the Palme d’Or that year was Jacques Demy’s musical confection, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (launching Catherine Deneuve in stardom, younger sister of Truffuat’s headlining actress, Françoise Dorleac, already a celebrity). Described by its creator as ‘an autopsy of adultery,’ it’s a cold, bitter film about a rather unappealing affair. »
- Nicholas Bell
Marc Allégret: From André Gide lover to Simone Simon mentor (photo: Marc Allégret) (See previous post: "Simone Simon Remembered: Sex Kitten and Femme Fatale.") Simone Simon became a film star following the international critical and financial success of the 1934 romantic drama Lac aux Dames, directed by her self-appointed mentor – and alleged lover – Marc Allégret. The son of an evangelical missionary, Marc Allégret (born on December 22, 1900, in Basel, Switzerland) was to have become a lawyer. At age 16, his life took a different path as a result of his romantic involvement – and elopement to London – with his mentor and later "adoptive uncle" André Gide (1947 Nobel Prize winner in Literature), more than 30 years his senior and married to Madeleine Rondeaux for more than two decades. In various forms – including a threesome with painter Théo Van Rysselberghe's daughter Elisabeth – the Allégret-Gide relationship remained steady until the late '20s and their trip to »
- Andre Soares
4 items from 2015
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