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
Truffaut's movie, dedicated to two great silent stars Lilian and Dorothy Gish, is very specific since it shows how a movie is being made from a technical as well as personal point of view. The content may seem to be boring for some people. However, it is not exactly so for many people since lots of us would like to see the real wings of a film and Truffaut's movie does a perfect job in this aspect.
The cast are generally good but the quality of performances is raised by very few individuals. The actors and actresses have a double work to do: to play in the film which is being shot, MAY I INTRODUCE PAMELA, as well as to play in DAY FOR NIGHT. Jacqueline Bisset is supposedly the main star of the film. Yet, she is far from best. Sometimes, it is felt that she cannot combine her role in DAY FOR NIGHT with her role of Pamela. She looks confused at switching to two different realities. There are some less famous French cast, like Dani or Jean-Pierre Aumont, who do a good job, but do not appear to be particularly memorable. However, the person who absolutely shines in her role is, in my opinion, Valentina Cortese. The Italian stage and movie actress, born in Milan, was cast by such great directors as Antonioni, Fellini, and Zeffirelli. She was always very good. But here, in Truffaut's movie, she gives one of her very finest performances. She beautifully combines the role of an actress and the role of Alfonso's mother. It's just a perfect flow between these two. I have watched the entire film twice, but the scenes with Ms Cortese - ten times. Her facial expressions in the portrayal of Severine, an alcoholic desperate movie star, her constant forgetting of the lines and opening wrong door, her whole acting REALLY DESERVE AWARDS!
Since the film's content deals with making movies, I would like to concentrate on one more aspect: how it really shows movie making and people who take part in it. Here, I must say that Truffaut did something unforgettable and universal. While watching DAY FOR NIGHT, a viewer is led to a wonderful journey into the core of film making. One can see, for instance, the scene shooting, problems with direction, writing the script, the private problems of the cast, the way others perceive the works, director's real devotion, including ultimate work - "Who is a director?...Someone who is constantly being asked". Finally, the film touches the most serious problem: what happens if an actor dies during filming... This is something that happens rather rarely (thank goodness); yet, it's double tragedy. Truffaut also develops the characters of actors and actresses - these are not only people who act but complex individuals.
I recommend DAY FOR NIGHT to those people who are interested in film-making. Truffaut did a piece of marvelous job and I am glad that Valentina Cortese was cast by him and her performance resulted in awards. She really deserves it.
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