Truffaut had first become friendly with Jeanne Moreau some years before at Cannes in 1957. He was fascinated by her, partly because she was a major star, and partly because of her sense of freedom and love of life. In the months leading up production, Truffaut spent much time at Moreau’s house where he enjoyed some of the happiest days of his life. Their close bond developed into a passionate, if brief, love affair, which, by the end of filming, had evolved into an enduring friendship. “Jeanne Moreau gave me courage each time I had doubts,” Truffaut later wrote. “Her qualities as an actress and as a woman made Catherine real before our eyes, made her plausible, crazy, possessive, passionate, but above all adorable.”
Working with Jean Gruault, a writer he admired, Truffaut finally got a screenplay that he was happy with, and then quickly assembled a team. Many of the crew from Tirez sur le painiste were hired again, creating the “family” atmosphere that Truffaut preferred on set. He chose to portray Jim; a young, as yet unknown actor who was performing in a comedy duo at the time, and who resembled Roche in both looks and manner. In the role of Jules, he cast , an acclaimed stage actor in Germany and Austria who had yet to make an impact on screen. However, the real star of the film was , who was born to play the enigmatic Catherine.
Truffaut was much encouraged by the first private screenings of before its official release. Among those singing its praises was Jean Renoir, who wrote him a long letter from Hollywood. The critics echoed the positive response. “A Celebration of Tenderness and Intelligence”, was the headline in one paper. The film proved popular with audiences too, despite an 18 certificate. After its French opening, Truffaut travelled widely abroad to promote the film, which continued to receive a warm reception wherever it played.
Contained here are its various parts: details of the four core exhibitions and related events, two commissioned exhibitions, and four essays, together comprising the Systemics series program as a whole.
Rutherford [N.J.] : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, c1975.
Now in his forties, Francois Truffaut had become increasingly preoccupied with death and those close to him who had passed away. “I’m faithful to the dead, I live with them. I’m forty-five and already beginning to be surrounded by dead people.” Since the death of Andre Bazin in 1958, he had lost many close friends, lovers and colleagues. The death of in a car crash was a particularly bitter blow. In 1977, two men who had been like fathers to him, Roberto Rossellini and Henri Langlois also died. La Chambre verte (The Green Room, 1978) was based on several short stories by Henry James and is about a man, Julien Davenne, who cannot forget those who have died. His whole life is dedicated to keeping alive the memory of his wife Julie who died at the age of 19. His "green room" is a shrine he has created to her memory and to others he was once close to.
Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, c1998.
Tirez sur le pianiste was perhaps the most experimental and New Wave of all Truffaut’s films. Having realised half way through filming that he hated gangsters, Truffaut set about subverting the genre. There are constant changes of pace and mood. Extended voice-overs, out-of-sequence shots and sudden jump cuts disrupt the action. As Godard had done in , Truffaut seems to be asking the question “What is cinema?” Unfortunately such a challenging film proved too great for contemporary audiences and it performed poorly at the box office.
pp: 55-74 Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, .
In 1960, in large part due to events connected with the Algerian war, Francois Truffaut started to move to the left ideologically. The De Gaulle government’s use of torture against the Algerian liberation movement known as the FLN, and the erosion of basic liberties in France because of the war, convinced him to take a public position. This he did by signing the “Manifesto of the 121” – so named because of the 121 artists, writers and academics who first signed it. The manifesto denounced torture, rejected the army’s actions, demanded freedom of expression, and supported deserters. As far as the government, the army, and much of public opinion were concerned, the declaration was treasonous, and those who had signed were put on a blacklist and banned from working. Truffaut was summoned to police headquarters, but thanks to campaigns in the French and international press, the sanctions against himself and the other signers of the manifesto were soon lifted.