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Film / Shoot the Piano Player

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Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur le pianiste) is a 1960 French gangster film directed by Fran├žois Truffaut, based on the novel Down There by David Goodis.

The film focuses on Charlie Kohler, formerly a famous pianist named Edouard Saroyan (Charles Aznavour), who now makes his living playing piano in a bar. His normal routine is interrupted by the arrival of his brother, who is being chased by two gangsters. All the while Charlie is falling in love with Lena (Marie Dubois), a waitress who works at the same bar as him.


  • Author Avatar: Charlie was partially based on Truffaut himself. He allegedly suffered from acute shyness, and there is a strong visual resemblance between the two.
  • Broken Ace: After his wife's suicide Charlie went from being a renowned pianist to working in a bar.
  • Child Prodigy: His brothers state that Charlie was this.
  • Driven to Suicide: Charlie's wife's suicide is the reason that Charlie changed his name and started working in a bar.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The film demonstrates its use of Mood Whiplash by starting with a man running to escape people chasing him, accidentally running into a lamp post, and then starting a conversation about marriage with the man who helps him up.
  • Genre Roulette: The film is famous for combining the genres of crime, romance, and comedy.
  • Homage: After making The 400 Blows, which he felt reflected his interest in European movies, Truffaut deliberately set out to make a film that reflected his interest in American movies.