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
Adjani is aptly cast as the titular Adèle, an emotionally fragile, neglected lover, who so happened to be the youngest daughter of Victor Hugo. Any of Truffaut’s usual marks are minimal, ephemeral reminders of his authorship; instead, being closer to a straight historical piece, authentically adorned and also pleasantly natural in its drama. Elegantly written and performed - very sound all the way through.
Watch how Isabelle Adjani channels a woman gripped by the feverish constraints of obssessive love, employing everything in her arsenal from selfless acts of charity to cunning deceit only to alienate the man she loves. Even during her scenes of madness in the end, Ms. Adjani affects a sort of quiet dignity and nobility to it all. It is utterly poignant to behold and ultimately, heartbreaking.
François Truffaut: A Winter Portrait, running Tuesdays through December 22 at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, showcases