In an interview with the magazine “Sight & Sound”, the director of “Kill Bill” and “Pulp Fiction” attacked François Truffaut. AlloCiné feels obliged to react to shout his love to the man of “400 blows” and “Jules and Jim”.
Make no mistake, the Rédac’ AlloCiné deeply loves the cinema of Quentin Tarantino. His lyrical flights fill us with joy and we often follow his recommendations when he advises such or such forgotten nuggets. And then there were these few lines in Sight & Sound… QT tears François Truffaut there, calling him a “dumbed-down amateur”.
We will never criticize Tarantino but we must remember what cinema owes to Francois Truffaut, and how much we love the films of this director who died nearly forty years ago. A tribute is therefore in order. A tribute in the form of counterfire to the Tarantinian conflagration: in the master’s high-flying filmography, we have chosen to tell you about six films. Six films that changed our vision of cinema.
The four hundred Blows
It was with a reputation as a ruthless critic, destroyer of French tradition, that Truffaut launched himself into the cinema. And to live up to the demands he has for other directors, the applicant must revolutionize French cinema. At least. And the young man – he was only 27 at the time – was there. His film is staggeringly free, and offers a portrait of a child that goes against the prettiness too often associated with this age.
If not autobiographical, The four hundred Blows is nonetheless inspired by the painful experience of its creator, an unloved and rebellious child. On the distribution side, he finds Jean-Pierre Leaud the ideal interpreter of this Antoine Doinel in search of love and emotional stability. The film, presented at Cannes, was awarded the Best Director Prize. Ironic for Truffaut, persona non grata at the Festival a year earlier for having criticized too vehemently the films in competition. (Vincent Garner)
Jules and Jim
Two boys, a girl… and a flagship New Wave film on arrival. Perhaps not as emblematic as Les 400 Coups, one of the founding opuses of the movement. But much more romantic. Adapted from the book of the same nameHenri-Pierre Rochehe therefore stages Jules (Henry Serre) and Jim (Oskar Werner). And Katherine (Jeanne Moreau), the woman with whom the Frenchman and the German both fall in love, at the dawn of the First World War which will separate them.
The banter and levity of the first scenes (where we race impromptu, jump into the Seine and draw a mustache) succeeds the tragedy of the return from the war, symbol of the end of recklessness. Passing with ease from one register to another, François Truffaut establishes there the style which will be his thereafter. Not content with offering Jeanne Moreau a sublime role, he takes us into a whirlwind of life made up of laughter and tears, whose images and emotions mark us forever. Jules and Jim is arguably his finest film. (Maximilien Pierrette)
After having resisted the Hollywood sirens several times, in particular by refusing to direct Bonnie & Clyde (which will be directed by Arthur Penn), Francois Truffaut sets its sights on Fahrenheit 451. This feature will be his only film shot in English. It is an adaptation of the eponymous novel written by Ray Bradbury. Note that the title also refers to the combustion temperature of paper. Although the special effects and sets feel a little dated, Truffaut’s exploration of the theme of totalitarianism remains a pinnacle of the genre.
The story takes place in an indefinite country, at an indefinite time, where reading is strictly forbidden. This activity would prevent people from being happy. The fire brigade’s sole mission is to hunt down people who possess books and reduce these objects to ashes. Guy Montag (Oskar Werner), zealous firefighter and respectful citizen of institutions, meets Clarisse (Julie Christie), a young teacher who makes him doubt his position. Little by little, he in turn was won over by the love of books. (Vincent Formica)
The bride was in black
Does Quentin Tarantino have a short memory? The American filmmaker indeed seems to have forgotten how much the film The bride was in black (1967) greatly inspired his diptych Kill Bill ! Adapted from a novel by william irish (also author of The Mississippi Mermaid), Truffaut’s film also follows the revenge plan set up by a young widow whose husband was murdered on the very day of their wedding.
In Truffaut’s version, no initiatory journey to China, nor yakuza or bloodshed, but the cream of French cinema: Jeanne Moreau in the main role, while her victims are played by the legendary Claude Rich, Michael Lonsdale, Michael Bouquet and Charles Denner. An essential film noir in Truffaut’s filmography which also benefited from an original soundtrack composed by another legend of the 7th art: Bernard Hermann (Psychosis). (Clement Cusseau)
The American night
Thirteenth film Francois Truffaut, The American night is devoted to cinema and creation. A film crew is gathered in the Victorine studios, in Nice, to film a feature film. It is the human adventure represented by a film shoot that constitutes the heart of the film.
In addition to the fascinating aspect of discovering behind the scenes of a shoot, La Nuit Américaine has the intelligence to base itself on a collective adventure to tell the story of loneliness. The relationships between the men and women in the film are often superficial despite appearances. Truffaut endeavors to describe the isolation of the director during these reports, caught up in his creation and the management of everything concerning his feature film. A classic of (French) cinema to see or see again. (Corentin Palanchini)
The Woman Next Door
He saw them side by side during a César ceremony and he quickly understood: between Fanny Ardant and Gérard Depardieu, there is this famous and intangible alchemy. For them, he therefore wrote The Woman Next Door, the passionate story of Mathilde and Bernard, two former lovers who once lived a tormented idyll, and who by the purest chance find themselves neighbors. They are both married but their old flame, devouring, will be reborn years later.
A romantic drama par excellence, the penultimate film by the great Truffaut is undoubtedly the one that screams and best describes the psychological and physical torments of amorous passion and… Desire, present in every gesture, exchange or brushing. Charcoal eyes, exalted voice, incandescent gait, the masterful and still little known Fanny Ardant reveals herself under the eye of the filmmaker, whose last companion she will be. At his side, Depardieu straight out of his Last Metro, offers a more intimate score, both wild and elegant.
These two great seducers of their time embody like no other the urgency of feeling, the imperious almost animal embrace, the destructive attachment and its impossible equation (the ultimate “Neither with you, nor without you”). While knowing how to stay at a safe distance from his nevertheless burning subject, Truffaut also manages, thanks to the mastery of his words, to underline the extent to which amorous disorder can create social disorder. This masterpiece, which inspired the greatest “toxic” love films in France and elsewhere, is a must. (Laetitia Ratane)