Nationality: French. Born: Paris, 6 February 1932. Education: Attended Lycée Rollin, Paris. Military Service: Enlisted in army, but deserted on eve of departure for Indochina, 1951; later released for "instability of character." Family: Married Madeleine Morgenstern, 1957 (divorced), two daughters. Career: Founded own cine-club in Paris, lack of funds caused closing, was jailed for inability to pay debts, released with help of André Bazin, 1947; with Godard, Rivette, and Chabrol, member of Ciné-club du Quartier Latin, 1949; briefly employed by the Service Cinématographique of the Ministry of Agriculture, 1953; writer on film for Cahiers du cinéma, then Arts, from 1953, including seminal article, "Une Certain Tendance du cinéma français," in 1954; with Rivette and Resnais, made short 16mm film, 1955; assistant to Roberto Rossellini, 1956–58; directed first feature, Les Quatre Cents Coups, and wrote script for Godard's A bout de souffle, 1959; published Le Cinéma selon Hitchcock, 1966; instigated shutting down of 1968 Cannes Festival in wake of May uprisings. Awards: Best Director, Cannes Festival, for Les Quatres Cents Coup, 1959; Prix Louis Delluc, and Best Director, National Society of Film Critics, for Stolen Kisses, 1969; Acedemy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, Best Director, National Society of Film Critics, Best Direction, New York Film Critics, and British Academy Award for Best Direction, for Day for Night, 1973. Died: Of cancer, in Paris, 21 October 1984.
Films as Director:
Une Visite (+ sc, co-ed)
Les Mistons (+ co-sc)
Une Histoire d'eau
Les Quatre Cents Coups (The Four Hundred Blows) (+ sc)
Tirez sur le pianist (Shoot the Piano Player) (+ co-sc)
Jules et Jim (Jules and Jim) (+ co-sc)
"Antoine et Colette" episode of L'Amour a vingt ans (Love atTwenty) (+ sc, role)
La Peau douce (The Soft Skin) (+ co-sc)
Fahrenheit 451 (+ co-sc)
La Mariée était en noir (The Bride Wore Black) (+ co-sc)
Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses) (+ co-sc)
La Sirène du Mississippi (Mississippi Mermaid) (+ sc); L'Enfantsauvage (The Wild Child) (+ co-sc, role as Dr. Jean Itard)
Domicile conjugal (Bed and Board) (+ co-sc)
Les Deux Anglaises et le continent (Two English Girls) (+ co-sc)
Une Belle Fille comme moi (Such a Gorgeous Kid like Me) (+ co-sc)
La Nuit américaine (Day for Night) (+ co-sc, role as Ferrand)
L'Histoire d'Adèle H. (The Story of Adele H.) (+ co-sc)
L'Argent de poche (Small Change) (+ co-sc)
L'Homme qui aimait les femmes (The Man Who LovedWomen) (+ co-sc)
La Chambre verte (The Green Room) (+ co-sc, role as Julien Davenne)
L'Amour en fuite (Love on the Run) (+ co-sc)
Le Dernier Metro (The Last Metro) (+ sc)
La Femme d'à côté (The Woman Next Door)
Vivement dimanche! (Finally Sunday)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg) (role as French scientist)
By TRUFFAUT: books—
Les Quatre Cent Coups, with Marcel Moussy, Paris, 1959; as TheFour Hundred Blows: A Film by François Truffaut, New York, 1969.
Le Cinéma selon Hitchcock, Paris, 1967; revised edition published as Hitchcock, New York, 1985.
Ce n'est qu'un début, Paris, 1968.
Jules et Jim, New York, 1968.
The Adventures of Antoine Doinel: Four Autobiographical Screenplays, New York, 1971.
La Nuit américaine et le journal de tournage de Farenheit 451, Paris, 1974.
Day for Night, New York, 1975.
Les Films de ma vie, Paris, 1975; published as The Films in My Life, New York, 1978.
The Wild Child, New York, 1975.
Small Change, New York, 1976.
The Story of Adele H., New York, 1976.
L'Homme qui aimait les femmes, Paris, 1977.
Truffaut par Truffaut, edited by Dominique Rabourdin, Paris, 1985;
published as Truffaut on Truffaut, New York, 1987.
Le Plaisir des yeux, Paris, 1987.
François Truffaut: correspondence, edited by Gilles Jacob and Claude de Givray, Renens, 1988; published as François Truffaut: Letters, translated by Gilbert Adair, London, 1990.
La petite voleuse, with Claude de Givray, Paris, 1989.
By TRUFFAUT: articles—
"Une Certain Tendance du cinéma français," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), January 1954.
"Renoir in America," with J. Rivette, in Sight and Sound (London), July/September 1954.
"La Crise d'ambition du cinéma français," in Arts (Paris), 30 March 1955.
Interview of Rossellini, with Maurice Scherer, in Film Culture (New York), March/April 1955.
"On the Death of André Bazin," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), January 1959.
"On Film: Truffaut Interview," in the New Yorker, 20 February 1960.
"Les Mistons," in Avant-Scéne du Cinéma (Paris), no. 4, 1961.
"Histoire d'eau," in Avant-Scéne du Cinéma (Paris), no. 7, 1961.
"Jules et Jim," in Avant-Scéne du Cinéma (Paris), June 1962.
"Sex and Life," in Films and Filming (London), July 1962.
"Vivre sa vie," in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), October 1962.
"Sur le cinéma américaine," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), December 1963 and January 1964.
"Skeleton Keys," in Film Culture (New York), Spring 1964.
"La Peau douce," in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), May 1965.
"Farenheit 451" (working notes by Truffaut), in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February/July 1966.
"Jean-Luc Godard," in Les Lettres Françaises (Paris), 16 March 1967.
"Georges Sadoul," in Les Lettres Françaises (Paris), 18 October 1967.
"Ernst Lubitsch," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1968.
"Francoise Dorlèac," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), April/May 1968.
"Is Truffaut the Happiest Man on Earth? Yes," in Esquire (New York), August 1970.
"L'Enfant Sauvage," in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), October 1970.
"Intensification," an interview with Gordon Gow, in Films andFilming (London), July 1972.
"The Lesson of Ingmar Bergman," in Take One (Montreal), July 1973.
"A Portrait of Francois Truffaut," an interview with S. Mallow, in Filmmakers Newsletter (Ward Hill, Massachusetts), December 1973.
Interview with Charles Higham, in Action (Los Angeles), January/February 1974.
"Adèle H.," an interview with Gilbert Adair, in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1975.
"François Truffaut: The Romantic Bachelor," with Melanie Adler, in Andy Warhol's Inter/View (New York), March 1976.
"Dialogue on Film: Interview with Truffaut," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), May 1976.
"Kid Stuff: François Truffaut on Small Change," with J. McBride and T. McCarthy, in Film Comment (New York), September/October 1976.
"Truffaut, Part V," an interview in the New Yorker, 18 October 1976.
"François Truffaut: Feminist Filmmaker?," with Annette Insdorf, in Take One (Montreal), January 1978.
"Truffaut: Twenty Years After," an interview with D. Allen, in Sightand Sound (London), no. 4, 1979.
"My Friend Hitchcock," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), March 1979.
Daney, Serge, Jean Narboni, and Serge Toubiana, "Truffaut ou le juste milieu comme expérience limite," interview in Cahiers duCinéma (Paris), no. 315, September 1980.
Interview with A. Gillain, in Wide Angle (Athens, Ohio), vol. 4, no. 4, 1981.
Interview with Marcel Ophuls, in American Film (New York), May 1985.
"Travelling arrière," in Télérama (Paris), no. 2335, 12 October 1994.
On TRUFFAUT: books—
Petrie, Graham, The Cinema of François Truffaut, New York, 1970.
Crisp, C.G., and Michael Walker, François Truffaut, New York, 1971.
Fanne, Dominique, L'Univers de François Truffaut, Paris, 1972.
Allen, Don, Finally Truffaut, London, 1973; revised edition, 1985.
Monaco, James, The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer,Rivette, New York, 1976.
Collet, Jean, Le Cinéma de François Truffaut, Paris, 1977; revised edition, 1985.
Insdorf, Annette, François Truffaut, Boston, 1978.
Walz, Eugene P., François Truffaut: A Guide to References andResources, Boston, 1982.
Winkler, Willi, Die Film von François Truffaut, Munich, 1984.
Bergala, Alain, and others, Le Roman de François Truffaut, Paris, 1985.
De Fornari, Oreste, I filme di François Truffaut, Rome, 1986.
Dalmais, Hervé, Truffaut, Paris, 1987.
Ciment, Gilles, and others, Les 400 Couples de François Truffaut, Paris, 1988.
Guerif, François, François Truffaut, Paris, 1988.
Cahoreau, Gilles, François Truffaut, 1932–84, Paris, 1989.
Insdorff, Annette, François Truffaut: le cinéma est-il magique?, Paris, 1989.
Merrick, Hélène, François Truffaut, Paris, 1989.
Baecque, Antoine de, and Serge Toubiana, François Truffaut, Paris, 1996; translated by Catherine Temerson, New York, 1999.
On TRUFFAUT: articles—
Sadoul, Georges, "Notes on a New Generation," in Sight and Sound (London), October 1959.
Burch, Noël, "Qu'est-ce que la Nouvelle Vague?," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Winter 1959.
Farber, Manny, "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art," in FilmCulture (New York), Winter 1962/63.
Shatnoff, Judith, "François Truffaut—The Anarchist Imagination," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Spring 1963.
Taylor, Stephen, "After the Nouvelle Vague," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Spring 1965.
Klein, Michael, "The Literary Sophistication of François Truffaut," in Film Comment (New York), Summer 1965.
Braudy, Leo, "Hitchcock, Truffaut, and the Irresponsible Audience," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Summer 1968.
Wood, Robin, "Chabrol and Truffaut," in Movie (London), Winter 1969/70.
Bordwell, David, "A Man Can Serve Two Masters," in FilmComment (New York), Spring 1971.
Beylie, Claude, and others, "Le Continent, Truffaut et le deux anglaises," in Ecran (Paris), January 1972.
Jebb, Julian, "Truffaut: The Educated Heart," in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1972.
Houston, Beverle, and Marsha Kinder, "Truffaut's Gorgeous Killers," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Winter 1973/74.
Lefanu, Mark, "The Cinema of Irony: Chabrol, Truffaut in the 1970s," in Monogram (London), no. 5, 1974.
Martin, Marcel, "Vingt ans après: une certain constante du cinéma français," in Ecran (Paris), January 1974.
Coffey, B., "Art and Film in François Truffaut's Jules and Jim and Two English Girls," in Film Heritage (New York), Spring 1974.
Hess, J., "La Politique des auteurs: Part 2: Truffaut's Manifesto," in Jump Cut (Chicago), July/August 1974.
Thomas, P., "The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Bazin and Truffaut on Renoir," in Sight and Sound (London), Winter 1974/75.
Barbera, Alberto, special issue, in Castoro Cinema (Firenze), no. 27, 1976.
Carcassonne, P., "Truffaut le narrateur," in Cinématographe (Paris), November 1977.
"La Chambre vert Issue" of Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), 1 November 1978.
Tintner, A.R., "Truffaut's La Chambre vert," in Literature/FilmQuarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 8, no. 2, 1980.
Almendros, N., "Otto set di Truffaut illuminati da Almendros," in Segnocinema (Vicenza), vol. 3, no. 6, January 1983.
"Le Dernier Metro Issue" of Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), March 1983.
Turner, D., "Made in USA: The American Child in Truffaut's 400Blows," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), April 1984.
Obituary in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), November 1984.
"Truffaut Issue" of Cinéma (Paris), December 1984.
"Truffaut Issue" of Cinématographe (Paris), December 1984.
Truffaut Section of Wide Angle (Baltimore), vol. 7, nos. 1/2, 1985.
Jameson, R. T., and others, in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1985.
Dixon, W., "François Truffaut: A Life in Film," in Films in Review (New York), June/July and August/September 1985.
"Tirez sur le pianiste and Vivement dimanche! Issue" of Avant-Scènedu Cinéma (Paris), July/August 1987.
Moullet, Luc, "La balance et le lien," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), July/August 1988.
Allen, Don, "Truffaut's Miller's Tale," in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1989.
Desbarats, F., "François Truffaut, ou la communication barré," in Cahiers de la Cinématheque (Peripignan), no 54, December 1990.
Gruault, J., "Nom de code 00–14 (avec François Truffaut)," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), no. 447, September 1991.
Pasolini, Pier Paolo, "Fellini, Bergman, Trjuffo," in Iskusstvo Kino (Moscow), no. 3, March 1992.
Gassen, H., "Georges Delerue. Das Spektakel van Klang und Licht," in EPD Film (Frankfurt), vol. 9, no. 6, June 1992.
Rosenbaum, J., "Cineaste," vol. 20, no. 2, 1993.
Bénoliel, Bernard, "Vivement dimanche!: Testament de François Truffaut?" in Mensuel du Cinéma (Paris), no. 4, March 1993.
Auzel, D., "Truffaut. L'art d'écrire-l'art d'aimer," in Séquences (London), no. 164, May 1993.
Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), no. 467–468, May 1993.
Douin, Jean-Luc, "La bande des quatre," in Télérama (Paris), no. 2262, 19 May 1993.
Crowdus, G., "Truffaut on Laserdisc," in Cineaste (New York), vol. 20, no. 3, 1994.
* * *
François Truffaut was one of five young French film critics, writing for André Bazin's Cahiers du Cinéma in the early 1950s, who became the leading French filmmakers of their generation. It was Truffaut who first formulated the politique des auteurs, a view of film history and film art that defended those directors who were "true men of the cinema"—Renoir, Vigo, and Tati in France; Hawks, Ford, and Welles in America—rather than those more literary, script-oriented film directors and writers associated with the French "tradition of quality." Truffaut's original term and distinctions were subsequently borrowed and translated by later generations of Anglo-American film critics, including Andrew Sarris, Robin Wood, V.F. Perkins, and Dave Kehr. When Truffaut made his first feature in 1959, Les Quatre Cent Coups, he put his ideas of cinema spontaneity into practice with the study of an adolescent, Antoine Doinel, who breaks free from the constrictions of French society to face an uncertain but open future. Since that debut, Truffaut's career has been dominated by an exploration of the Doinel character's future (five films) and by the actor (Jean-Pierre Léaud) whom Truffaut discovered to play Antoine. In Truffaut's 25 years of making films, the director, the Doinel character, and Léaud all grew up together.
The rebellious teenager of Les Quatre Cent Coups becomes a tentative, shy, sexually clumsy suitor in the "Antoine et Colette" episode of Love at Twenty. In Baisers volés, Antoine is older but not much wiser at either love or money making. In Domicile conjugal, Antoine has married but is still on the run toward something else—the exotic lure of other sexual adventures. And in L'Amour en fuite, Antoine is still running (running became the essential metaphor for the Doinel character's existence, beginning with the lengthy running sequence that concludes Les Quatre Cent Coups). Although Antoine is now divorced, the novel which he has finally completed has made his literary reputation. That novel, it turns out, is his life itself, the entire Doinel saga as filmed by Truffaut, and Truffaut fills his films with film clips that are both visual and mental recollections of the entire Doinel cycle. Truffaut deliberately collapses the distinction between written fiction and filmed fiction, between the real life of humans and the fictional life of characters. The collapse seems warranted by the personal and professional connections between Truffaut the director, Doinel the character, and Léaud the actor.
Many of Truffaut's non-Doinel films are style pieces that similarly explore the boundaries between art and life, film and fiction. The main character of Tirez sur le pianist tries to turn himself into a fictional character, as does Catherine in Jules et Jim. Both find it difficult to maintain the consistency of fictional characters when faced with the demanding exigencies of real life. La Mariée etait en noir was Truffaut's elegy to Hitchcock, a deliberate style piece in the Hitchcock manner, while Fahrenheit 451, his adaption of Ray Bradbury's novel, explores the lack of freedom in a society in which books—especially works of fiction—are burned. Adele H in L'Histoired'Adele H attempts to convert her passion into a book (her diary), but life can neither requite nor equal her passion; instead, it drives her to madness and a total withdrawal from life into the fantasy of her romantic fiction. In L'Homme qui aimait les femmes, an incurable womanizer translates his desire into a successful novel, but the existence of that work in no way diffuses, alleviates, or sublimates the desire that vivified it. The Green Room is Truffaut's homage to fiction and the novelist's craft—a careful, stylish adaption of a Henry James story.
Given his conscious commitment to film and fiction, it is not surprising that Truffaut devoted one of his films to the subject of filmmaking itself. La Nuit américaine is one of the most loving and revealing films about the business of making films, an exuberant illustration of the ways in which films use artifice to capture and convey the illusion of life. This film, in which Truffaut himself plays a film director, is a comically energetic defense of the joys and pains of filmmaking, a deliberate response to the more tortured visions of Fellini's 8" or Bergman's Persona. Those Truffaut films not concerned with the subject of art are frequently about education. L'Enfant sauvage explores the beneficial power and effects of civilization on the savage passions of a child who grew up in the forest, apparently raised by beasts. Truffaut again plays a major role in the film (dedicated to Jean-Pierre Léaud), playing a patient scientist who effects the boy's conversion from savagery to humanity. Like the director he played in La Nuit américaine, Truffaut is the wise and dedicated patriarch, responsible for the well-being of a much larger enterprise. L'Argent de poche examines the child's life at school and the child's relationships with adults and other children. As opposed to the imprisoning restrictions which confined children in the world of Les Quarte Cent Coups, the now adult Truffaut realizes that adults—parents and teachers—treat children with far more care, love, and devotion than the children (like the younger, rebellious Truffaut himself) are able to see.
Unlike his friend and contemporary Jean-Luc Godard, Truffaut remained consistently committed to his highly formal themes of art and life, film and fiction, youth and education, and art and education, rather than venturing into radical political critiques of film forms and film imagery. Truffaut seemed to state his position in Le Dernier Métro, his most political film, which examines a theater troupe in Nazified Paris. The film director appeared to confess that, like those actors in that period, he could only continue to make art the way he knew how, that his commitment to formal artistic excellence would eventually serve the political purposes that powerful art always serves, and that for him to betray his own artistic powers for political, programmatic purposes would perhaps lead to his making bad art and bad political statements. In this rededication to artistic form, Truffaut was probably restating his affinity with the Jean Renoir he wrote about for Cahiers du Cinéma. Renoir, like Truffaut, progressed from making more rebellious black-and-white films in his youth to more accepting color films in his maturity; Renoir, like Truffaut, played major roles in several of his own films; Renoir, like Truffaut, believed that conflicting human choices could not be condemned according to facile moral or political formulae; and Renoir, like Truffaut, saw the creation of art (and film art) as a genuinely humane and meaningful response to the potentially chaotic disorder of formless reality. Renoir, however, lived much longer than Truffaut, who died of cancer in 1984 at the height of his powers.
The French film director and critic François Truffaut (1932-1984), together with Jean Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, created the "New Wave" in French motion picture production in the late 1950s.
François Truffaut as film maker and esthetician was instrumental in formulating a new cinema language. In its visual spontaneity and narrative discontinuity, the style he helped to originate provided a sharp contrast to the studied academicism of older and established directors. Although elements of his innovative methods can be found in works by his brilliant colleague and early collaborator Jean Luc Godard and in later productions by other directors, few have been able to capture the lyrical warmth, infectious exuberance, and textual luminosity that distinguish the finest of Truffaut's efforts.
Truffaut was born in Paris and spent much of his unhappy childhood working in menial factory and office jobs. Sent by a juvenile court to a reformatory when he was 15 years old, he was rescued from prolonged confinement by the noted film critic André Bazin, who had been impressed with the youth's enthusiasm for motion pictures and his regular attendance at local cinema clubs. After completing service in the French armed forces, Truffaut was introduced by Bazin to the editors of the influential cinema review Cahiers du cinéma, where he worked as a critic for the next 8 years.
Truffaut attacked all that was stale and conventional in French films and admired the low-budget American productions that could be undertaken with less pressure on the director from "businessmen." In 1954 he made his directorial debut with a short, Une Visite, followed in 1957 by another short, Les Mistons, a technically adventurous lyrical idyll of childhood innocence. In collaboration with Godard, he then composed the script for and directed Une Historie d'eau (1958), a slapstick comedy reminiscent of early Mack Sennett silents.
The 400 Blows (1959), Truffaut's first full-length film, established him among the most subtly evocative and imaginatively inspired creators of cinema. A touching yet deliberately unsentimental autobiographical work, of an unwanted 13-year-old boy driven to desperation by insensitive parents and tyrannical officials, The 400 Blows alternates between subjective lyricism and cinéma vérité objectivity. That same year Truffaut provided the original story for Godard's intellectual crime thriller Breathless. In 1960 Shoot the Piano Player represented Truffaut's tribute to the Hollywood gangster movies of the 1930s. The sardonically amusing plot—a lonely barroom piano player tries to save his two brothers from mobsters they have double-crossed—contains a compendium of "New Wave" cinematic techniques. The film's technical exuberance—such devices as the frozen take, the iris shot, and comic-strip images were employed—reflects a portion of the work's moral and philosophical statement.
With Jules and Jim (1961) Truffaut produced the film that most critics consider his finest effort and a cinematic masterpiece. A tragically humorous story of an endearing love triangle, suffused with the nostalgia of its early-20th-century Parisian setting, the film projected, wrote critic Stanley Kauffmann, "an exhilaration, tenderness, wonderful rhythmic variation, understatement, and an un-American innocence-in-sex, " which young audiences accepted as a way of life as well as a style of film making.
The Soft Skin (1964), a romantic melodrama about a professor of literature who leaves his wife for an airline stewardess he loves, contained some striking sequences but could not transcend its banality of theme. Even more disappointing was Fahrenheit 451 (1966), an uninspired science-fiction parable about a future society in which reading is prohibited. The Bride Wore Black (1968), a revenge tale, was a rather depressing tribute to Alfred Hitchcock. In 1967 Truffaut published Hitchcock, an illuminating analysis of his fellow auteur.
Stolen Kisses (1968) was a sequel to The 400 Blows and successfully recaptured much of the earlier film's incandescent charm. This film history of the character Antoine Donel was continued in Bed and Board (1971), another charming and lightly mocking semiautobiographical effort. The year before, Truffaut wrote, directed, and performed in an austere film relating a doctor's attempts to civilize a child who had grown up in the forest. Based on a true incident, The Wild Child was resoundingly successful, showing a new facet of Truffaut's versatile talent.
Truffaut was acclaimed for his rich characterizations of two females in Two English Girls (1971), which deals with the relationship between making art and suffering love. Day for Night (1973) won an Oscar for Truffaut as a homage to filmmaking. In 1975, he produced The Story of Adele H., in which the daughter of Victor Hugo tells her story, and two years later released The Man Who Loved Women, about a hopelessly adolescent hero who encounters sympathetic women. In 1979, Truffaut returned to his series featuring the character Antoine Donel in a movie entitled Love on the Run.
Truffaut produced several films in the 1980s, including The Last Metro (1980), the story of a theater troupe in Paris during the German occupation. Two films, The Woman Next Door (1981) and Vivement Dimache (1983) were very heavily influenced by Truffaut's admiration of Alfred Hitchcock, and included the ingredients of suspense, murder and obsessive love.
Truffaut died on Oct. 21, 1984, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
The most perceptive criticism of Truffaut can be found in Pauline Kael, I Lost It at the Movies (1965) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1968); Stanley Kauffmann, A World on Film (1966); the sections on Truffaut in John Russell Taylor, Cinema Eye, Cinema Ear (1964) and Dwight MacDonald, Dwight MacDonald on Movies (1969); and Annette Insdorf's François Truffaut (1979). □
François Truffaut (fräNswä´ trüfō´), 1932–84, French film director and critic. Known in his early 20s as a writer for the influential French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma, he was noted for his excoriating criticism of traditional French filmmaking and for his promotion of the auteur theory. The director, he believed, should have creative control over all aspects of the film. He was one of the first of the
directors of the late 1950s and 60s to make films that were less studio-bound and script-dominated. Truffaut's films are noted for their surface charm, which often masks a highly ironic, even bitter, undercurrent. His films The 400 Blows (1959), Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed and Board (1970), and Love on the Run (1979) comprise a kind of filmed autobiography. Other notable works include Shoot the Piano Player (1960), Jules and Jim (1961), The Wild Child (1971), Day for Night (1973), The Story of Adele H. (1975), and The Last Metro (1978). He occasionally took leading roles in his own films. He acted only once under another director, in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
Truffaut collected his criticism in The Films in My Life (1975; tr. 1978). See also biographies by A. de Baecque and S. Toubiana (tr. 1999) and A. de Baecque (tr. 2001); studies by G. Petrie (1970), C. G. Crisp (1972), and A. Insdorf (1987); documentaries dir. by S. Toubiana and M. Pascal (1993) E. Laurent (2009), and A. Gillain (tr. 2013).