"The film of tomorrow appears to me as even more personal than an individual and autobiographical novel, like a confession, or a diary."
François Truffaut (6 February 1932 – 21 October 1984) was an influential French filmmaker. He is hailed as one of the progenitors of the French New Wave
, and as one of the greatest directors of all time.
Truffaut is probably most famous for his first autobiographical film, The 400 Blows
, which helped bring in the New Wave. He is also notable for directing the adaptation of Ray Bradbury
's book Fahrenheit 451
- his only English language film. To do so, he turned down the chance to direct the landmark film Bonnie and Clyde
, but inadvertently set Warren Beatty
on the course of not only starring in it, but produce it and getting Arthur Penn
direct it instead. In doing so, he helped spark the New Hollywood
era of American film in a roundabout way.
In 1973, he made Day for Night
(La Nuit Americaine
) a movie about the making of a movie.
He did an extensive series of interviews with friend and idol Alfred Hitchcock
that were published as Hitchcock/Truffaut in the West. To this day the book is an interesting insight into the world of movie making and the mindset of one of the 20th Century's greates directors.
A general audience would most likely recognize him
as the French scientist from Steven Spielberg
's Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Former trope namer for Do Not Do This Cool Thing
- Bookworm : Books, along with movies and girls are major Author Appeal for Truffaut. He disliked science fiction but jumped on adapting Fahrenheit451 because he loved the theme of the importance of books and the film is filled with Scenery Porn and Scenery Gorn of books and pages which are beautiful even when it burns.
- Caustic Critic : Truffaut had this reputation in France, once called "the Gravedigger of the French Cinema." He was banned from attending the Cannes Film Festival for constantly giving poor reviews to local French films. The next year, he came to Cannes as a director and won an award.
- Children Are Ambiguously Innocent : Truffaut's films showed childhood with a lack of sentimentalism and took children very seriously. Antoine Doinel, the anti-hero of Les 400 Coups was a highly complex character, certainly not a Creepy Child but not entirely The Cutie either, occupying a rarely shown middle ground.
- The Wild Child dealt with the case of the real life Feral Child showing a doctor(played by Truffaut himself) tried to reintegrate him to society.
- The Face Of The Band : For the entire French New Wave. He was the most famous to American audiences and the general public and the only one to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. In his early years, Truffaut used his fame to promote his friend's work.
- Let's See You Do Better : He and his friends were the greatest aversions. They were not only great critics, pioneering interviews with film directors (and among the first to use tape recorders) as well as research into production and fact-checking but they were also great directors in their own right.
- Genre-Busting : The French New Wave were big believers in this. Truffaut as a critic prized films which did this like Johnny Guitar and as a director he made films which jumped and shifted in moods and tones all the time. His film, Shoot the Piano Player was incredibly famous for this, anticipating many of the gimmicks popularized by Pulp Fiction.
- The Mentor : He had a collection of them. The founder of the magazine Cahiers du Cinema Andre Bazin was a Parental Substitute to Truffaut, rescuing him from Military Prison and taking him under his wing. Truffaut later cited Roberto Rossellini as the "Father of the New Wave". And Alfred Hitchcock was so important to him that he worked with him on a book-length series of interviews, Hitchcock/Truffaut which played a major role in changing people's mind about the master of suspense.
- Truffaut himself served as this to Jean-Pierre Leaud the child actor of Les 400 Coups who went on to become a great actor, and regular collaborator.
- Mood Whiplash : Jules et Jim is entirely this. Shifting from happy to sad, serious to comic almost in the same breath and sometimes all at once. This was something he extended to many of his films and which he did with aplomb.