François Truffaut

"His finest work is precariously but deftly balanced between sympathetic involvement with his characters' doubts, frustration and confusion, and gently ironic detachment; accordingly, he favoured the medium close-up and medium-shot, linear but subtly elliptical narratives and, occasionally, voiceover narration, literary in tone." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)

François Truffaut

Director / Screenwriter / Producer / Actor
(1932-1984) Born February 6, Paris, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: France
Key Genres: Drama, Comedy Drama, Romantic Drama, Period Film, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Melodrama, Coming-of-Age, Childhood Drama, Psychological Drama, Showbiz Drama
Key Collaborators: Marcel Berbert (Producer), Georges Delerue (Composer), Nestor Almendros (Cinematographer), Martine Barraqué (Editor), Suzanne Schiffman (Screenwriter), Jean-Pierre Kohut-Svelko (Production Designer), Jean-Pierre Leaud (Leading Actor), Jean Gruault (Screenwriter), Yann Dedet (Editor), Jean-Louis Richard (Screenwriter), Raoul Coutard (Cinematographer), Agnes Guillemot (Editor)

"Truffaut remained true to the Cahiers legacy by inserting into each film references to his favorite periods of film history and his admired directors (Lubitsch, Hitchcock, Renoir). Jules and Jim, set in the early days of cinema, provided an occasion to incorporate silent footage and to employ old -fashioned irises. Truffaut sought not to destroy traditional cinema but to renew it. In the Cahiers spirit he aimed to enrich commercial filmmaking by balancing personal expression with a concern for his audience: "I have to feel I am producing a piece of entertainment." - Kristin Thompson & David Bordwell (Film History: An Introduction, 2009)
"François Truffaut was one of five young French film critics, writing for André Bazin's Cahiers du Cinema in the early 1950s, who became the leading French filmmakers of their generation... Unlike his friend and contemporary, Jean-Luc Godard, Truffaut remained consistently committed to his highly formal themes of art and life, film and fiction, youth and education, art and education, rather than venturing into radical political critiques of film forms and film imagery." - Gerald Mast (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Truffaut’s influence on cinema was international in scope. He conveyed in his films and in his writing an apparently inexhaustible and infectious enthusiasm for the possibility of authentic personal expression in the cinema. Perhaps his most moving film after The 400 Blows, L’Enfant Sauvage (The Wild Child, 1970) stars Truffaut as a scientist who attempts to communicate with an Abandoned autistic child. Throughout his life, Truffaut believed that human communication could transcend language and culture. No doubt, his influence on young filmmakers derives from this faith." - Hilary Ann Radner (Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2007)
"A passionately romantic humanist like Renoir, Truffaut was also a devout admirer of the skills of Hitchcock, which he attempted to emulate in several of his own thrillers. He published a book of a series of interviews he conducted with Hitchcock, whom he repeatedly identified as his idol, but temperamentally and emotionally his affinity with Renoir seemed to be the stronger side of his split artistic personality" - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"This distinguished French film-maker was an extraordinary man to pin down, in that he almost never made the same kind of film twice, and his films varied infuriatingly from very good to mediocre. There are autobiographical elements in many of them, which are veined with ideas of childhood, loneliness, women, mothers and obsessional objects;" - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"Truffaut made only a few films that are not flawed, several that have serious weaknesses in conception and realization, one or two content to treat the surface of a subject, but none without a youthful enthusiasm for movies. He treated material speculatively, in the way of an idealised Hollywood director in the days of constant production, priding himself on an ability to make any assignment beautiful and entertaining… Whether or how well his films will last remains to be seen. Whatever the answer to that question, for many people who love film, Truffaut will always seem like the most accessible and engaging crest to the New Wave." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Truffaut's work moves, sometimes uncertainly, between the highly personal style of his best films (with their tendency towards episodic structure, diffident heroes, and suggestions of improvisation), and those which seem to reflect American influences." - Roger Manvell (The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972)
"Truffaut was always a committed cineaste, who remained, up to his death from a brain tumour at 52, totally at ease with the revolutionary filmic language he had helped create. His critical reputation may have slipped slightly in some quarters, but the magnitude of his achievements as both theorist and auteur should not be underestimated." - Lloyd Hughes (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"One of France's most sympathetic film-makers, François Truffaut was closely associated with the nouvelle vague of the late Fifties… Truffaut's films are always marked by a distinctive gentleness, a graceful humour, and a truly personal cinematic sense.." - The Illustrated Who's Who of the Cinema, 1983
"Enthusiasm, lucidity, and freedom of expression characterise the films of François Truffaut, a leading force in the French new Wave. They are obviously made by someone who wants to retain a certain innocence." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"A seminal director in the French New Wave, Truffaut is a master at illustrating the small joys and sorrows of human existence, with a particular talent for understanding children." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"The film of tomorrow will not be directed by civil servants of the camera, but by artists for whom shooting a film constitutes a wonderful and thrilling adventure." - François Truffaut
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The 400 Blows (1959) , Shoot the Piano Player (1960) , Jules et Jim (1961) , The Soft Skin (1964), Stolen Kisses (1968) , Day for Night (1973)
Recommended
The Bride Wore Black (1967), The Wild Child (1970) , Bed & Board (1970), Two English Girls (1971) , The Woman Next Door (1981) , Confidentially Yours (1983)
Worth a Look
Les Mistons (1957), Love at Twenty (1962) [also directed by Shintaro Ishihara, Marcel Ophüls, Renzo Rossellini & Andrzej Wajda], Fahrenheit 451 (1967), Mississippi Mermaid (1969), The Story of Adele H (1975), Small Change (1976), The Man Who Loved Women (1977), Love on the Run (1978), The Green Room (1978), The Last Metro (1980)
Not Recommended
A Gorgeous Girl Like Me (1972)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
François Truffaut / Favourite Films
All the President's Men (1976) Alan J. Pakula, L'Atalante (1934) Jean Vigo, The Big Sleep (1946) Howard Hawks, Casque d'or (1952) Jacques Becker, Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955) Luis Buñuel, Day of Wrath (1943) Carl Theodor Dreyer, Dial M for Murder (1954) Alfred Hitchcock, Duel (1971) Steven Spielberg, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) Werner Herzog, Fingers (1978) James Toback, Foolish Wives (1922) Erich von Stroheim, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Howard Hawks, The Girl Can't Help It (1956) Frank Tashlin, Hollywood or Bust (1956) Frank Tashlin, The Honeymoon Killers (1970) Leonard Kastle, I Confess (1953) Alfred Hitchcock, It Should Happen to You (1954) George Cukor, Johnny Guitar (1954) Nicholas Ray, A King in New York (1957) Charles Chaplin, Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Robert Aldrich, The Lady Vanishes (1938) Alfred Hitchcock, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) Orson Welles, Marnie (1964) Alfred Hitchcock, La Marseillaise (1938) Jean Renoir, My Night at Maud's (1969) Eric Rohmer, The Naked Dawn (1955) Edgar G. Ulmer, The Night of the Hunter (1955) Charles Laughton, Notorious (1946) Alfred Hitchcock, Orphans of the Storm (1922) D.W. Griffith, The Quiet Man (1952) John Ford, Rebecca (1940) Alfred Hitchcock, The Rules of the Game (1939) Jean Renoir, Shadow of a Doubt (1943) Alfred Hitchcock, Summer Interlude (1951) Ingmar Bergman, Sunrise (1927) F.W. Murnau, Testament of Orpheus (1959) Jean Cocteau, To Catch a Thief (1955) Alfred Hitchcock, Toni (1935) Jean Renoir, Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles, Tristana (1970) Luis Buñuel, Trouble in Paradise (1932) Ernst Lubitsch, Ugetsu monogatari (1953) Kenji Mizoguchi, Verboten! (1959) Samuel Fuller, Vivre sa vie (1962) Jean-Luc Godard, The Wrong Man (1956) Alfred Hitchcock, Young and Innocent (1937) Alfred Hitchcock, Zero for Conduct (1933) Jean Vigo.
Source: Unknown (1979)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Jules et Jim
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