He seems to be a somewhat under talked about auteur on this site, though 400 Blows is often cited as a masterpiece, and to that I agree. I hated his Jules and Jim as I’ve proclaimed several times, but also really liked his “Shoot the Piano Player”…
Where to go from there? What is your favorite Truffaut? Rank his films if you like. Where do you think he stands in the history of great/important/influencial filmmakers? How do you think he and his work as a whole compares to other oevres of the New Wave era and beyond?
anne and muriel based upon HENRI PIERRE ROCHE’S second and only other novel[his first novel being jules et jim] is a far more emotionally honest depiction of an menage a trois then the superficial jules et jim!
The first half of the 70s (Bed & Board, Two English, Girls, The Story of Adele H.) was his best period. He was a great filmmaker but an even greater film critic. The profound, immediate, and revolutionary impact he made on cinema from 1956 to the release of The 400 Blows is a singular achievement. And then soon after, he took off his polemic mask and unveiled his classicism and broke the hearts of many.
I’ve never seen Shoot the Piano Player, but I do agree with Hidden’s sentiments on The 400 Blows and Jules and Jim. Other movies from Truffaut that I have seen have disappointed me, such as The Man who Loves Women-which felt overly episodic and formulaic, as well as pointless; Farenheit 451-which looks in addition to being tiresome, and movie about Victor Hugo’s daughter- which was very dull.
See, I’ll stick up for him until death, even his classicist period.
Shoot the Piano Player is my personal favorite, but Day For Night, The Bride Wore Black, The Story of Adele H., the Doinel series, and … most especially … The Wild Child and Small Change , are all amazing works. He was a formidable presence in all of world cinema during his professional life, and his work endures and continues to inspire many.
And, dear God, I don’t think it is possible to top The Green Room. Utterly brilliant.
I also want to re-examine Fahrenheit-451 since it usually gets so many brickbats (I haven’t seen it in decades, so don’t pummel me just yet for even suggesting this), but I have yet to do so.
Truffaut is one of my favorite filmmakers. The old criticism that he abandoned the experimentation of his early films and sold out to the French film industry has always annoyed me. Many of his greatest films come after the 60s – Bed and Board, Two English Girls, and Day for Night to name but a few. Richard Brody, on a recent blog entry, had an interesting insight about the development of Truffaut’s career and how he fulfilled his desire to be an auteur:
“In short, what Truffaut had in mind was to become an auteur like those in Hollywood he so greatly admired—a filmmaker who worked within an industry and accepted the commercial norms of that industry to make films that nonetheless were deeply personal and could, by perceptive viewers, be recognized as such.”
For my money, none of his films tops Shoot the Piano Player, but I’ve never seen a Truffaut film I didn’t like.
I’ve only seen 4 of his films but they are some of my favorites. Even though he is not my #1 favorite filmmaker (probably not even in my top 5 to be honest) he is the one director whose films I most want mine to feel like. So he’s a huge inspiration for me. The best thing about his films that I’ve seen is his way of making them feel honest and personal, yet not losing sight of the film being interesting/entertaining. It’s this balance that, to me, he nails perfectly. His films entertain but do not pander, are easy to jump into but are not shallow, personal and yet convey imagination. Damn, I really need to watch the rest of his catalog!
Here are my Truffaut rankings.
Rankings are tough for me but I’ll group them.
Les Quatre cents coups / The 400 Blows
Nuit Americaine / Day for Night
Jules et Jim
Les Deux anglaises et le continent/Two English Girls
L’Enfant Sauvage/Wild Child
The Man Who Loved Women
Tirez sur le pianiste / Shoot the Piano Player
Le Dernier métro / The Last Metro
L’Histoire d’Adèle H. /The Story of Adele H.
Vivement dimanche! / Confidentially Yours
La Peau douce/The Soft Skin
>Need to see again before making decision:
L’Argent de poche / Small Change
La Mariee Etait en noir / The Bride Wore Black
>Could not finish:
Une belle fille comme moi / A Gorgeous Bird Like Me
the misogyny and class hatred expressed by truffaut for bernadette lafonts sociopathic lead character in ‘’a gorgeous girl like me’’ is quite rancid and surprising for a man from equally humble origins.