A French little town, at the end of the twenties. Julien Davenne is a journalist whose wife Julie died a decade ago. He gathered in the green room all Julie’s objects. When a fire destroys the room, he renovates a little chapel and devotes it to Julie and his other dead persons. —IMDb
The product of an unhappy, loveless home, Truffaut began using films to escape the exigencies of reality at age seven, virtually living in various Parisian movie houses. He left school to go to work at 14, and, one year later, founded a film club, which brought him to the attention of influential cinema critic Andre Bazin. Over the next few years, Bazin both financed and protected Truffaut. In 1953, Bazin hired Truffaut as a critic/essayist for Cahiers du Cinema. It was in the January 1954 edition that Truffaut published his landmark essay “A Certain Tendency in the French Cinema,” in which he attacked directors who merely ground out films without any personal cinematic vision; he also propounded the auteur theory, which opined that the only directors worth serious consideration were those who left their own individual signatures on each of their films. Truffaut noted that writing critiques enabled him to understand why he loved films and to rationalize his reasons for liking them… read more
This is very much an auteur's film: the green room can be seen as a metaphor for Truffaut's celebration of bygone directors, while his performance is self-critical, depicting a melancholy loner too taken with his own obsessions to connect with other people. The musty brown-and-green cinematography combined with the solemn music contribute greatly to the film's atmosphere, though for me it is not quite a masterpiece.
A beautiful film that has suffered to the purgatory of lack of and undeserving releases. Definitely Truffaut's unseen masterpiece. A beautiful, passionate, and mysterious film that, especially with Truffaut playing his own lead, lays out the directors soul for all to see. Melancholic and uplifting at once. A truly rewarding and unique film experience.
Truffaut himself said of the film: "It's a bit like a declaration of love, and is neither depressing, nor morbid nor sad." Spot on. And therefore a tedious film. And while Truffaut is one of the great masters of cinema, he's not a very good actor. The film suffers from his flat and soulless performance. Nestor Almendros dark cinematography is beautiful though, as usual. (D)