Hitchcock/Truffaut Screen 21 articles

Hitchcock/Truffaut

2015

Hitchcock/Truffaut Poster
  • Mostly, the conversations surrounding Hitchcock’s films in Hitchcock/Truffaut are little more than serviceable primers to the director’s work. That raises the question of who the ideal viewer of this film actually is. A discussion about the theme of the transference of guilt in The Wrong Man, for instance, will only really be revelatory to someone who knows next to nothing about Hitchcock’s films. Jones’s documentary, then, will appeal more to neophytes than hardcore cinephiles.

  • My main criticism is basically one of over familiarity. It seems unnecessary at this point to spend yet another extended amount of time discussing such classics as Vertigo, especially since so many of the interviewees have said similar things elsewhere (Scorsese, Schrader, Bogdanovich)... While the film may no doubt be interesting to Hitchcock neophytes, I was expecting something more substantial and original from a talented critic like Jones than a collage of director talking heads.

  • To turn now to the films seen in the last few days, let me commend, in passing, Kent Jones’s adroit and evocative documentary film of the iconic book of interviews Hitchcock/Truffaut, which turned out bizarrely to be one of the festival’s flashpoint screenings. (The Buñuel theatre filled up so fast that several people with top priority passes were locked out, a couple of whom reportedly took to screaming at Thierry Fremaux.)

  • Enlisting the participation of a slew of chatty cineastes to offer their own thoughts and feelings on the book, Hitchcock’s work, and how each has impacted them, Jones has made not so much Hitchcock/Truffaut as Hitchcock/Truffaut/Scorsese/Assayas/Gray/Desplechin/Fincher. Jones’ film is an endearing portrait of filmmaker-to-filmmaker adoration that brings Truffaut’s landmark book into the present, making its dialogue feel continuous, fresh, and alive.

  • More like Hitchcock/Scorsese, really, as a huge chunk of the slim running time is devoted to Marty's (predictably lucid) analysis of Vertigo. The actual book gets comparatively short shrift, which isn't too surprising since that topic much more readily lends itself to an essay (or even a book of its own) than to a movie. False advertising aside, though, Jones provides a reasonably absorbing overview of Hitchcock's career.

  • The film provides a useful summary of the cultural impact made by Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950s... the impressive lineup of talking heads includes Martin Scorsese, Richard Linklater, David Fincher (who's particularly eloquent), Olivier Assayas, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

  • At first blush, Jones seems content with a frustratingly conventional assemblage of handsome talking heads, archival footage, and rudimentary photo scans. Quirks in editorial timing and emphasis, however, gradually become evident. Sometimes Jones lets sequences from Hitchcock's films run untouched before introducing accompanying verbiage, an approach that reconnects viewers to the spell of Hitchcock's filmmaking prior to the baggage of interpretation.

  • Though smarter visually than its TV-ready format would suggest (the camera team includes ace cinematographers Eric Gautier and Mihai Mălaimare Jr.),Hitchcock/Truffaut doesn’t offer a whole lot more than the opportunity to watch and hear very smart people talk about something they know very well. However, as its namesake’s decades-long legacy has proven, something as simple as that can be a treat.

  • This documentary will remind you of a lot that you already knew about Hitchcock, but casts different light on much of it, and tells us a lot more besides—I’m amazed we’re not all already walking around quoting Hitchcock’s observation that “There’s no such thing as a face—it’s non-existent till the light hits it.”

  • Another movie directed by a friend, the great critic and programmer Kent Jones…and a pleasingly thorough examination of two filmmakers, their sensibilities, and the collaboration that produced one of the great texts on cinema.

  • Like the book, "Hitchcock/Truffaut" is a work of annotation par excellence, with in-depth examinations of scenes in "The Birds," "Vertigo," and "The Wrong Man." The movie is even illuminating on more mundane matters, such as the way Hitchcock staged some of the famous photographs that Philippe Halsman took of him and Truffaut. The subject matter is irresistible, but Jones laces it with a sly critical statement.

  • At first glance, this is a clips-plus-talking-heads doc. But that impression doesn’t do it justice. For one thing, many of the clips... tease us with their unfamiliarity, like a gallery of less-known pictures flanking a hall of masterpieces. Moreover, the film’s perspective is far more sophisticated than what we usually find in the genre. Hitchcock/Truffaut respects its viewers enough to summon up suggestive and subtle links between sequences, between image and commentary.

  • Intelligent and lively, it’s filled with memorable Hitchcock images and revelatory comments by David Fincher and James Gray in particular. But the movie also put me in mind of Godard’s passage in Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Chapter 4a) in which he says, in effect, that long after we’ve forgotten the whys and wherefores of the plots, we will remember “a handbag,” “a bus in the desert,” “a glass of milk”...

  • Conspicuously, not a single female filmmaker is to be found in this movie... This alarming gender imbalance aside, the results are mesmerizing to watch for two reasons: 1) it's very obvious that every single one of these directors has long studied Hitchcock's work and has insightful things to say, and 2) the visual splendors of Hitchcock's work are used thoughtfully and masterly as a beautiful backdrop for those insights.

  • This joyfully analytical and tautly argued documentary, directed by Kent Jones, links Alfred Hitchcock’s preëminent acclaim among critics and filmmakers alike to the publication of François Truffaut’s 1966 book of interviews with him... A wider range of interview subjects might have broadened the perspective, yet before criticizing a tradition, it’s useful to define it, and Jones (a superb critic) offers deep insight into the watershed moment and the enduring forms of Hitchcock’s canonization.

  • It is certainly not breaking news that Hitchcock has been massively influential to several generations of auteurs, but the micro-analyses scattered throughout Hitchcock/Truffaut wind up constituting more than mere appreciation. At its best, the documentary offers a marvelously simple model of engaged spectatorship: When you’re watching the work of a great filmmaker, you really can’t watch closely enough.

  • The man who embraced many of the characteristics that movie snobs love to denigrate — his genre; his prolific output (at the time of the interview, he was just completing his 48th film); the constraints of the studio system — is finally his own best argument for the happy coexistence of art and entertainment.

  • Jones makes an important contribution to the contemporary fan canon. Jones’s film is a tribute to a beloved 50-year-old book, yes. But it’s also a tribute to all the current directors who speak informedly about the films it commemorated. Viewers might leave the theater buzzing about their sudden wish to watch films by Hitchcock — but they might be equally eager to judge for themselves how those movies might be reflected in the works of David Fincher and his contemporaries.

  • The film is more than just a tribute; it’s a kind of re-enactment. Using a combination of the original audio files of Truffaut’s interviews, along with these directors offering up their own interpretations and analyses of Hitchcock’s work, the film, in the limited amount of time it has, replicates the effect of the book. The results are fascinating.

  • The editing in this film is quick and playful, shots never lingering too long on any one thing, keeping the subject engaging and accessible to both cinephiles and the casual viewer. HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT is a celebration of the friendship the pair forged back in 1962 and the love of cinema as an art form.

  • ++

    Sight & Sound: Henry K. Miller
    February 05, 2016 | March 2016 Issue (pp. 36-41)

    Jones's choice of clips is superb, notably giving the silent period its due; often shorn of their narrative context, they amply demonstrate the power of the image to communicate without it. The film itself is brilliantly edited by Rachel Reichman, with an attention t detail that is worthy of its subject, implicitly supporting Jones's thesis.

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