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Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015)

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Kent Jones’ film explores the eight-day long interview conducted by young French filmmaker and writer Francois Truffaut with his filmmaking idol, Alfred Hitchcock, in 1962. The great man had just completed production on The Birds and they talked daily at Universal Studios even during lunch. Everything was recorded on tape in the company of translator Helen Scott while Philippe Halsman was on hand to take photographs. The resulting book took almost four years to be published and is a bible for all movie students. The recordings can now be found on YouTube but this film cherrypicks some of the 27 hours of the recorded exchange and amplifies certain ideas in interviews with other directors, from Peter Bogdanovich and Martin Scorsese to Wes Anderson and Arnaud Desplechin. Some of the most interesting comments are made by Olivier Assayas who states that this book became a part of the Hitchcock oeuvre and also that the man was a theoretician of space. Well said. Judiciously chosen film clips illustrate his take no prisoners mise en scene and also demonstrate the differences in the men’s directing styles:  Truffaut describes the scene in The 400 Blows (Hitch didn’t know it) where truanting Jean-Pierre Leaud catches his mother on the street embracing a man. She thinks he saw her but isn’t sure. Hitch asks Truffaut if there was any dialogue. Truffaut explains that the boy speaks to his friend, while his mother speaks to her lover. Hitch comments drily, “Pity.” Big wow. Vive la difference!

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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