Truffaut, François

(1932-1984)
   Director, film critic, producer, and screenwriter. While still a teenager in late 1947, François Truffaut initiated a ciné-club with his friend Robert Lachenay. Through his involvement with this club, Cercle Cinémane, and other ciné-clubs, Truffaut became acquainted with the critic André Bazin, who is often described as Truffaut's surrogate father. This relationship was pivotal in Truffaut's formation as a director. In 1953, Truffaut began writing for Cahiers du cinéma and Arts. As a critic, Truffaut boldly denounced the French cinematic tradition de qualité, most notably in his 1954 essay, "Une certaine tendence du cinéma français." The criticisms laid out in Truffaut's writing, and the underlying aesthetics implied in these criticisms, would be central in the formation of the Nouvelle Vague or New Wave.
   Truffaut later established a small production company, Les Films du Carrosse, with the financial assistance of his father-in-law, the distributor Ignace Morgenstern. His first short was Une visite (1954), followed by Les Mistons (1957). In Les Mistons and in later films, Truffaut pays homage to the cinema through allusions to former films, such as Louis Lumière's classic silent film L'Arroseur arosé (1895). This intertextual referencing would later also become a characteristic of the New Wave.
   Truffaut went on to codirect a short about flooding around Paris, Une histoire d'eau (1958), with Jean-Luc Godard. His first feature film was the autobiographical Les Quatre cent coups (1959), which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and became a benchmark for the New Wave. In fact, some critics consider this film to be the first true New Wave film. The film's protagonist, Antoine Doinel, is played by one of Truffaut's regular actors, Jean-Pierre Léaud. Several critics have noted the similarities between the character Antoine's childhood and that of Truffaut. Truffaut himself did not comment on this, but referred to the film in only artistic terms, calling it an example of "cinema in the first person singular." Doinel would become a recurrent character in Truffaut's oeuvre. He subsequently made four other films featuring Doinel (all starring Léaud): the short Antoine et Colette (1962), Baisers volés (1968), which won the Prix Louis-Delluc, Domicile conjugal (1970), and L'amour en fuite (1979).
   Following Les Quatre cents coups, Truffaut made his second feature, Tirez sur le pianiste (1960). This film was not as commercially successful as Les Quatre cents coups, but it later gained recognition for its divergence from an emphasis on plot and its innovative experimentation in film narrative, image, and cinematic style. It was also the first of Truffaut's films to employ the acclaimed cameraman Raoul Coutard. Truffaut's third feature, Jules et Jim (1962), was another success for the New Wave. It won the French Film Critics Award for best French film and has gained lasting international acclaim. It was followed by another acclaimed film, La peau douce (1964).
   Truffaut directed one film in English, Fahrenheit 451 (1966), which was derived from Ray Bradbury's famous science-fiction novel. In 1976, Truffaut authored his own book, a series of interviews with legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, Le Cinéma selon Hitchcock. Quite apart from this publication, it is quite evident from Truffaut's films that he had an interest in Hitchcock. Hitchcock's influence is apparent in La marié était en noir (1968) and La sirène du Mississippi (1969), both of which were based on novels by William Irish, who also wrote the story on which Hitchcock's Rear Window was based.
   In 1970, Truffaut made L'enfant sauvage (1970), a film in which he also appears. This film was followed by Les deux Anglaises et le continent (1971) and Une belle fille comme moi (1972). Truffaut's tribute to filmmaking, La Nuit américaine (1973), was awarded an Oscar for Best Foreign Film and a British Film Academy Award for Best Film and Best Direction. His second book, Les films de ma vie, was published in 1975. Truffaut returned to literary adaptation in 1975 with his film L'histoire de Adèle H, which is adapted from the personal diaries of Victor Hugo's daughter, Adèle.
   The recurring theme of youth, particularly troubled youth, returned in Truffaut's 1976 film, L'argent de poche, which sensitively narrates a series of stories about children in the town of Thiers. This film was followed by L'homme qui aimait les femmes (1977), which was made at the same time as Truffaut was working as an actor for Steven Spielberg on his film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). In 1978, Truffaut directed and starred in La chambre verte (1978), another literary adaptation based on the writings of Henry James.
   Truffaut's next film, Le dernier métro (1980), set during the German Occupation of France, is sometimes seen as the end of the Mode Rétro and/or as a problematic beginning to the heritage film. It won ten César Awards, including Best Director, Best Film, and Best Screenplay. It stars two icons of French cinéma, Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, who received Best Actor and Best Actress at the César awards in 1981 for their performances. This film was followed by La femme d'à côté (1981) and Vivement dimanche! (1983), both of which star Fanny Ardant, who is the mother of Truffaut's youngest child.
   Truffaut's influence on world cinema is vast and enduring. His films are invaluable to the New Wave, the heritage genre, and beyond. His writing inspired a reevaluation of cinema as it contributed to the serious study of film as an art form. Not only did Truffaut contribute to the theory of the auteur, in many ways he personifies the auteur.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Truffaut, François — Truf·faut (tro͞o fōʹ), François. 1932 1984. French New Wave filmmaker whose works include The 400 Blows (1959) and Jules and Jim (1961). * * * born Feb. 6, 1932, Paris, France died Oct. 21, 1984, Neuilly sur Seine, near Paris French film director …   Universalium

  • Truffaut, François — • ТРЮФФО (Truffaut) Франсуа (6.2.1932 21.10.1984)    франц. режиссёр. Выступал как кинокритик, обратил на себя внимание резкостью суждений (сотрудничал в ж. Cahiers du cinema и еженедельнике L Art. ). Пост. к/м ф. Визит (1955) и Шантрапа (1958).… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Truffaut, François — (February 6, 1932, Paris, France October 21, 1984, Neuilly sur Seine, France)    The son of a Jewish dentist father whom he never met and a secretary mother, he was accepted as an adopted son by his stepfather, Roland Truffaut, who gave him his… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Truffaut, François — (1932 1984)    Director, film critic, producer, and screenwriter. While still a teenager in late 1947, François Truffaut initiated a ciné club with his friend Robert Lachenay. Through his involvement with this club, Cercle Cinémane, and other… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Truffaut, François — (1932 1984)    cinematographer, director, producer    A leader of the Nouvelle Vague movement in filmmaking (in which the director serves as auteur), François Truffaut was born in Neuilly and, after a troubled youth, began his career as a writer… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Truffaut, François — ► (1932 84) Director cinematográfico francés. La obra de Truffaut puede entenderse como un maridaje entre la tradición realista francesa (Renoir) y el clasicismo americano (Hitchcock, por ejemplo). Su cine sorprende por la sencillez y firmeza de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Truffaut — Truffaut, François …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Francois Truffaut — François Truffaut Pour les articles homonymes, voir Truffaut. François Truffaut Nom de naissance François Roland Truffaut Naissance 6 février 1932 Paris, France Nationalité(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Francois Truffaut — François Truffaut (* 6. Februar 1932 in Paris; † 21. Oktober 1984 in Neuilly sur Seine) war ein französischer Filmregisseur, Filmkritiker, Schauspieler und Produzent. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Truffauts Engagement für Kinder …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Truffaut — François Truffaut (* 6. Februar 1932 in Paris; † 21. Oktober 1984 in Neuilly sur Seine) war ein französischer Filmregisseur, Filmkritiker, Schauspieler und Produzent. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Truffauts Engagement für Kinder …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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