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Traffaut’s Heroes

Richard Mayne, 4 September 1980

The Films in My Life 
by François Truffaut, translated by Leonard Mayhew.
Allen Lane, 358 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 7139 1322 3
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... Why do we feel protective about François Truffaut? No one else in the old New Wave brings out the parent in us. Godard we either hate or admire, a disturbing influence gone solitary. Rivette and Resnais remain austere masters, full of mystification. Rohmer makes beautiful reflective films behind glass. Malle and Chabrol can take care of themselves ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Rebecca’, 20 July 2006

Rebecca 
directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
June 2006
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... It’s not a Hitchcock picture,’ the master told François Truffaut. He was being a little cagy, but in one sense he was right. Rebecca, now showing in a brand-new, sharp-focus print at the National Film Theatre and the Screen on the Hill, was a David O. Selznick film, ‘a picturisation’ as the title credits have it, of a very successful novel ...

Who takes the train?

Michael Wood, 8 February 1990

Letters 
by François Truffaut, edited by Gilles Jocob, Claude de Givray and Gilbert Adair.
Faber, 589 pp., £17.50, November 1989, 0 571 14121 8
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... Truffaut called Hitchcock an ‘artist of anxiety’. Truffaut was himself anxious enough, and a great admirer of Hitchcock, but his own best films are a mixture of lightness and weight, as Kundera might say, of gaiety and distress; plenty of pain, tragedy even, but nothing as taut, as possessive as anxiety ...

The Kiss

Gaby Wood, 9 February 1995

Jean Renoir: Letters 
edited by Lorraine LoBianco and David Thompson, translated by Craig Carlson, Natasha Arnoldi and Michael Wells.
Faber, 605 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 571 17298 9
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... sides are published) with Robert Flaherty, Dudley Nichols, Clifford Odets, Ingrid Bergman and François Truffaut. Many letters are exchanged, but since Renoir also actually saw these people, their friendship must have evolved in some space other than their writings, and a lot of the letters are filled with little pleasantries. So much so, in ...

Hitchcocko-Hawksien

Christopher Prendergast, 5 June 1997

Projections 7 
edited by John Boorman and Walter Donohue.
Faber, 308 pp., £11.99, April 1997, 0 571 19033 2
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Cahiers du cinema. Vol. I: The Fifties. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge, 312 pp., £65, September 1996, 0 415 15105 8
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Cahiers du cinema. Vol. II: The Sixties. New Wave, New Cinema, Re-evaluating Hollywood 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge, 363 pp., £65, September 1996, 0 415 15106 6
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Cahiers du cinema. Vol. III: 1969-72. The Politics of Representation 
edited by Nick Browne.
Routledge, 352 pp., £65, September 1996, 0 415 02987 2
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... asked where he got the idea of using the musical score from another film, he replies: ‘from Truffaut’ (he also mentions inclusion in the collage-like soundtrack of the theme music from Godard’s Le Mépris and Vivre sa vie). It would seem that we are travelling full circle, back to the original moment of Cahiers du cinéma and its ardent espousal of ...

Train Loads of Ammunition

Philip Horne, 1 August 1985

Immoral Memories 
by Sergei Eisenstein, translated by Herbert Marshall.
Peter Owen, 292 pp., £20, June 1985, 0 7206 0650 0
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A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema: 1930-1980 
by Robert Ray.
Princeton, 409 pp., £48.50, June 1985, 0 691 04727 8
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Suspects 
by David Thomson.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 52014 1
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Cahiers du Cinéma. Vol. I: The 1950s. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge with the British Film Institute, 312 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 0 7100 9620 8
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... Cinema: 1930-1980 (its title playing on a controversial 1954 piece about the French cinema by François Truffaut in Cahiers du Cinéma) is the work of an intelligent American lover of American films engaging partly with his political and ethical conscience and partly with the spectre of the influential English film journal Screen, in which the ...

Charlot v. Hulot

David Trotter: Tativille, 2 July 2020

Play Time: Jacques Tati and Comedic Modernism 
by Malcolm Turvey.
Columbia, 304 pp., £25, December 2019, 978 0 231 19303 0
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The Definitive Jacques Tati 
edited by Alison Castle.
Taschen, 1136 pp., £185, June, 978 3 8365 7711 3
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... well as a Hollywood Western, a documentary on the ultra-efficient US postal system, which inspires François, the town’s gullible, accident-prone postman, to try to speed up his delivery round. The predictably disastrous consequences include a brush with two American military policemen in a jeep and a culminating headlong plunge into a river. ...

As If

Jonathan Romney: ‘Cahiers du cinéma’, 9 September 2010

A Short History of ‘Cahiers du cinéma’ 
by Emilie Bickerton.
Verso, 156 pp., £12.99, March 2010, 978 1 84467 232 5
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... of five who, once they became film-makers themselves, came to be known as the Nouvelle Vague: François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Maurice Schérer, later known by his pseudonym, Eric Rohmer. By and large, unlike their counterparts on the left-wing journal Positif, the early Cahiers writers were either effectively ...

Sight, Sound and Sex

Adam Mars-Jones: Dana Spiotta, 17 March 2016

Innocents and Others 
by Dana Spiotta.
Scribner, 278 pp., £17.95, March 2016, 978 1 5011 2272 9
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... Vague, to be sure) between Jean-Luc Godard, preaching the dogma of continuous revolution, and François Truffaut, the ingratiating humanist. Godard’s background was close to plutocratic, while Truffaut’s early life was almost caricaturally insecure. In Innocents and Others, Carrie Wexler is allowed to ...

Hiatus at 4 a.m.

David Trotter: What scared Hitchcock?, 4 June 2015

Alfred Hitchcock 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 279 pp., £12.99, April 2015, 978 0 7011 6993 0
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Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much 
by Michael Wood.
New Harvest, 129 pp., £15, March 2015, 978 1 4778 0134 5
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Hitchcock à la carte 
by Jan Olsson.
Duke, 261 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 8223 5804 6
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Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews, Vol. II 
edited by Sidney Gottlieb.
California, 274 pp., £24.95, February 2015, 978 0 520 27960 5
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... Hitchcock​ liked assembly lines. In the long, consistently revealing interview he gave to François Truffaut in the summer of 1962, he described a scene he had thought of including in North by Northwest (1959), but didn’t. Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is on his way from New York to Chicago. Why not have him stop off at Detroit, then still in its Motor City heyday? I wanted to have a long dialogue scene between Cary Grant and one of the factory workers as they walk along the assembly line ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... noir – the Jean-Luc Godard/Jean-Paul Belmondo Breathless, made the year Chandler died, and the François Truffaut/Charles Aznavour Shoot the Pianist – fulfilled the form as tragedy and initiated the New ...

Jungle Book

John Pym, 21 November 1985

Money into Light 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 241 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 571 13731 8
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... and its universal atmosphere of overheated desperation so well, or so affectionately, as François Truffaut’s Day for Night. As a double-edged reminder that it is on the director’s broad shoulders that the success of the enterprise ultimately rests, and that it is only in his head that the complete formula is held, ...

No Beast More Refined

James Davidson: How Good Was Nureyev?, 29 November 2007

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life 
by Julie Kavanagh.
Fig Tree, 787 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 905490 15 8
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... and 17th-century olive-wood panelling? Who else was an object of some interest to Mick Jagger, François Mitterrand and Greta Garbo, to Gorbachev, Judy Garland – ‘Rudi’, ‘Judy’, ‘Rudi’, ‘Judy’ – and François Truffaut? And, among those who were, who was also arrested on suspicion of drug ...

Diary

David Thomson: ‘Vertigo’ after Weinstein, 21 June 2018

... artist deserving of studies, seminars and PhDs, as well as the book-length interview done by François Truffaut in 1967. Hitchcock was a different man after 1960, even if he was by then in his sixties and someone who should have known better. He could make objects and ethers potent – a knife, a glass of milk, mist at the Mission Dolores cemetery ...

The ashtrays worry me

Emilie Bickerton: Eric Rohmer, 19 March 2015

Eric Rohmer: Biographie 
by Antoine de Baecque and Noël Herpe.
Stock, 605 pp., €29, January 2014, 978 2 234 07561 0
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Friponnes de porcelaine 
by Eric Rohmer.
Stock, 304 pp., €20, January 2014, 978 2 234 07631 0
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... to his New Wave comrades, Rohmer’s work has never been especially cool or iconic, yet more than François Truffaut’s or Jean-Luc Godard’s it divides audiences right down the middle. Those who like his films are often protective and passionate and have seen them all; those who don’t complain of boredom and pointlessness. The complaints are partly ...

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