|Confidentially Yours: A
Weekend with FRANÇOIS
An Aero Theatre Exclusive!
Few directors exhibit a passion for cinema as intense and infectious
as François Truffaut, who once said that any great film must express either the
joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. His own work was filled with joy and
enthusiasm, even when exploring the darkest corners of the human heart. Truffaut began,
like his contemporaries Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer and Rivette, as a critic for the legendary
French journal Cahiers du Cinema, where he feasted on film as a young man.
Eventually he put his theories into practice, and his debut feature, THE 400 BLOWS,
was a sensation upon its release in 1959; along with Godards BREATHLESS, it
announced a new kind of cinema, the French New Wave. While Godard would become
progressively more political and experimental, Truffaut spent his career veering from one
kind of movie to another: from the deeply personal autobiography of the Antoine Doinel
films to genre exercises like CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS and THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. He also
gave the international cinema one of its greatest masterpieces (JULES AND JIM) and
influenced everyone from Spielberg and Scorsese to Paul Mazursky and Blake Edwards.
Truffaut himself was profoundly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, whom he vigorously
defended in print, eventually publishing a landmark interview book with the master.
Although Truffauts output is as varied as that of Howard Hawks or Michael Curtiz,
his films are all linked by a common thread: the directors deeply felt humanism.
Like his hero Jean Renoir, he believed that every man, no matter how superficially evil,
had his reasons. Yet the lessons of Hitchcock are visible throughout Truffaut's oeuvre
critic Cyril Neyrat explains, "Truffaut learned from his master the secret
of the uncanny: expanding or contracting time, centering on faces or objects, adding
density to his images through a montage of characters looking that infuses everyday
reality with a morbid anxiety." (François Truffaut, Cahiers du Cinema/Le
Friday, January 16 - 7:30 PM
New 35mm Print!
JULES AND JIM, 1962, Janus Films,
105 min. Dir. François Truffaut. In one of the greatest films of the French New
Wave, Truffaut elevates the materials of old-fashioned melodrama into high art: Two
friends are forced to fight on different sides during World War I and fall in love with
the same woman during peacetime. The film follows the shifting relationships and
affections among the three characters over the course of many years, creating a powerful
emotional experience that is both intimate and epic. With Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner.
TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (LES DEUX
ANGLAISES ET LE CONTINENT), 1971, Janus Films, 108 min. Dir. François Truffaut. In
a sort of reverse-gender JULES AND JIM, a young writer (perennial Truffaut surrogate Jean-Pierre
Léaud) finds himself in a long-term affair with two sisters. Truffaut returns to his
earlier films themes with an older, more melancholy eye; youthful enthusiasm has
given way to mature resignation, and the sophistication of Truffauts ideas is
matched by his most visually stunning images (courtesy of legendary cinematographer Nestor
Saturday, January 17 - 7:30 PM
New 35mm Print!
THE 400 BLOWS (LES QUATRE CENTS COUPS),
Janus Films. Dir. François Truffaut. Jean-Pierre Léaud plays a young boy
struggling against the constrictions of bourgeois conformity in this deeply personal
masterpiece. Both a coming-of-age classic and the greatest feature debut since
Welles CITIZEN KANE 18 years earlier, this, along with Godards BREATHLESS, is
one of the films that announced the arrival of the French New Wave to an international
cinema audience. "Antoine and Collette," 1962, Janus Films, 32 min. Dir.
François Truffaut. In this second appearance of Truffauts alter ego, Antoine
Doinel, Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud) is now a teenager on the verge of his first
love affair -- an affair that will begin his lifetime of restless searching for romance.
Originally part of the omnibus film LOVE AT TWENTY, this short more than stands on its own
and serves as an essential chapter in the Doinel saga.
STOLEN KISSES (BAISERS VOLÉS),
1968, Janus Films, 90 min. Dir. François Truffaut. In the third Antoine Doinel
film, Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud) returns to Paris after a dishonorable discharge
from the army. There, he finds himself trying a series of ridiculous jobs (including
private detective) as he falls hopelessly in love. Lyrical and nostalgic, this is one of
Truffauts most romantic films, which is really saying something. With Delphine
Sunday, January 18 - 7:30 PM
New 35mm Print!
SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER
(TIREZ SUR LE PIANISTE), 1960, Janus Films, 92 min. Director François Truffaut
once said that every filmmakers first movie is a mad rush of ideas, while every
second movie is an exercise in style. This, his own second movie, is both: a stylistic
tour de force filled with innovative visual ideas, but also a longing, bittersweet
character study of uncommon depth and resonance. Charles Aznavour is a washed-up
concert pianist unable to return to his former glory due to connections with gangsters and
other nefarious types; Marie Dubois is the woman who loves him. A long confession
scene is Truffauts tribute to Ingrid Bergmans 10 minute confession in
Hitchcocks UNDER CAPRICORN. Adapted from the great novel Down There by David
Goodis (who also wrote DARK PASSAGE).
THE LAST METRO (LE DERNIER
METRO), 1980, Janus Films, 131 min. Dir. François Truffaut. During the German
occupation of Paris, a theater company struggles to produce a new play while its director
is forced to hide in the basement, leaving his wife (Catherine Deneuve) to carry on
an affair with the new leading man (Gerard Depardieu). This meditation on the
ultimate powerlessness of the artist is surprisingly charming given its heavy subject
matter, and Deneuve is as elegant and compelling as ever.
Wednesday, January 21 - 7:30 PM
Kevin Thomass Favorites:
CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS (VIVEMENT
DIMANCHE!), 1983, Janus Films, 110 min. In François Truffauts delightfully
entertaining tribute to Hitchcock, a businessman (Jean-Louis Trintingnant) is
wrongly accused of murder, and while he goes on the lam his secretary (Fanny Ardant)
tries to find the real killer. Gorgeous black-and-white photography by Nestor Almendros
and a witty screenplay (by Truffaut and frequent collaborators Suzanne Schiffman and Jean
Aurel, adapting hardboiled American writer Charles Williams The Long Saturday
Night) make this one of the directors most enjoyable efforts. Film critic Kevin Thomas will introduce the screening.