Many women are attending Bertrand Morane's burial. They are all the ones that 40 years old engineer loved. Flashback : Bertrand's life and love affairs, told by himself while writing an ... See full summary »
Antoine Doinel joined the army but has just been discharged. The film tells his reunion with Christine Darbon, the girl he was in love with before the beginning of the film, and his ... See full summary »
Just after boarding a train, much to the surprise of his fellow passengers, a man pours a bucket of water over a young girl on the platform. Over the next few hours he explains (and we see ... See full summary »
The shooting of "Je vous presente Pamela" (may I introduce Pamela) begins. This is the story of en English married wife falling in love and running away with the father of her French husband. Will be simultaneously shown the shooting, the behavior of the people (including the technical team) on the set, and a part of their private life (a factor of complication)... Written by
As Severine (Valentina Cortesa) has more and more trouble remembering her lines (blowing several takes), Ferrand eventually writes her lines on pieces of paper that can be stuck up on the set out of sight of the camera, so that she can read them. It doesn't really work here. However, Truffaut used the same trick for himself when he was having trouble remembering his English lines in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). See more »
Several takes are wasted trying to get a cat to drink milk from a tray. Eventually Joelle brings in "the studio cat" to do the scene. But the cat that actually drinks the milk is actually a third, different cat. See more »
In 80 movies I've died 24 times - electrocuted twice, hanged twice. I've been knifed, committed suicide, died in accidents, but never a natural death. Anyway, I don't think death is natural.
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This film is dedicated to Lillian and Dorothy Gish. See more »
François Truffaut's "Day for Night" ("La nuit américaine") is a movie about the making of another movie, "Meet Pamela" ("Je vous présente Pamela"). From the snippets we see of "Meet Pamela", it looks like an insignificant and silly little film, even though its stars are fond of describing it to the press as a "modern tragedy." However, they mostly don't have time to philosophize about the larger meaning of "Meet Pamela"--they're just trying to film the darn thing!
"Day for Night" is an ensemble movie, showing how the many kinds of people on a film set surmount the many minor crises inherent in film-making. There are romantic entanglements and misalliances, as well as technical problems (e.g. the film's title refers to the necessity of shooting a nighttime scene using daylight and a special filter).
Valentina Cortese has some unforgettable, hilarious scenes as Severine, an alcoholic actress who can't remember her part. Also good are Nathalie Baye as an unflappable continuity girl; Jean-Pierre Léaud as an intense but callow young actor; and Jacqueline Bisset as an actress trying to survive the movie-making process after having suffered a nervous breakdown the prior year.
All these elements make "Day for Night" an entertaining movie. But upon reflection, I'm amazed at the craftsmanship it involved. Taking on the role of Ferrand, the director of "Meet Pamela," is Truffaut himself. He makes Ferrand into a professional, unassuming, and likable figure--it feels as though Truffaut put a lot of himself into his role. So it takes some conscious effort to disentangle Truffaut from Ferrand, but once that happens, Truffaut's astounding achievements become clear. As co-writer of the screenplay, Truffaut had a hand in everything that is said; as director of "Day for Night," he set up every shot in the movie. Even the shots in which he appears as Ferrand. Even the complicated shots that show the backstage workings of a movie set and feel so realistic that it's strange to think of them as having been set up. He shoots "Meet Pamela" unexceptionally, usually with a static camera (Ferrand-style) while the "real-life" scenes use hand-held cameras and other exciting techniques (Truffaut-style). It would probably take multiple viewings to appreciate all of what Truffaut did here.
I suppose this means that "Day for Night" is a noteworthy example of the "auteur theory." But that sounds like too dry and academic a summary for a movie that was made not only with superb skill, but also with a palpable love for cinema and love for life.
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