"Hitchcock/Truffaut" (2015 release; 80 min.) is a documentary based on
the book of the same name, originally published in 1966. The book was
essentially a transcript of a week-long interview/conversation between
directors Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut. As the movie opens,
we are given a quick historical context within which these
conversations took place, and the various contemporaries (Martin
Scorsese, Wes Anderson, David Lynch, etc.) provide their further
perspectives. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience,
you'll just have to see it for yourself.
Couple of comments: first and foremost, if you are a movie aficionado, you are in for a finger-lickin' good time, as two of the giants in movie history dissect Hitchcock's oeuvre in a manner that we have not seen before, and along the way we also get a fresh and better understanding of Truffaut's oeuvre. But let's be clear: this documentary is mostly about Hitchcock, and at times it feels that the book simply serves as an excuse to examine Hitchcock. But we admittedly also get a clear understanding as to why the book was much more than just a book for Truffaut and that it was as important as any film he made. While Hitchcock's entire career is looked at (including the very early days), the documentary spends more time on two Hitchcock films than any other: Vertigo and Psycho. We also get a clear understanding why Hitchcock claimed that "all actors are cattle", which makes the director of this documentary (the to me previously unknown Kent Jones) wonder how outspoken/strong-willed icons like Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman would have fared under Hitchcock. One of the best features of the documentary is that the audio tapes of the week-long conversation between Hitchcock and Truffaut have survived and are used heavily (along with still photographs from those sessions). It's like we're having a seat at the table along with these movie giants and the interpreter. I only wished that the movie lasted longer than its all-too-brief 80 min. running time.
"Hitchcock/Truffaut" opened this weekend without any fanfare or advertising at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. I figured this will not be playing very long, so I went to see it right away. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great. Given the lack of any marketing for the movie, this didn't come as a surprise. That said, if you love movies and want to get new insights on Hitchcock and Truffaut, you simply cannot go wrong with this, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "Hitchcock/Truffaut" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
In 1962 Hitchcock and Truffaut locked themselves away in Hollywood for a week to excavate the secrets behind the mise-en-scène in cinema. Based on the original recordings of this meeting-used to produce the mythical book Hitchcock/Truffaut-this film illustrates the greatest cinema lesson of all time and plummets us into the world of the creator of Psycho, The Birds, and Vertigo. Hitchcock's incredibly modern art is elucidated and explained by today's leading filmmakers: Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Arnaud Desplechin, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Wes Anderson, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader.
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