Francois Truffaut (1932-1984), French motion-picture director and critic, a leader of the nouvelle vague movement of filmmakers who rejected the slick, impersonal style of studio filmmaking for a more personal approach, in which the director has sole creative authority and is recognized as the author of a film. Truffaut was born in Paris. After a troubled childhood, he left school at the age of 14. Through his passion for film, he met Andre Bazin, founder and co-editor of the influential journal Cahiers du Cinema, for which Truffaut began writing. Throughout his filmmaking career, which began in the late 1950s, Truffaut wrote or co-authored as well as directed all his feature films, which combine comedy, pathos, suspense, and melodrama. His first film was the highly acclaimed "400 Blows" (1959), the story of Antoine Doinel, a misunderstood adolescent. This semi-autobiographical protagonist is featured and further developed in "Stolen Kisses" (1968), "Bed and Board" (1970), and "Love on the Run" (1979).
Truffaut's eclectic films also include" Shoot the Piano Player" (1960), mixing farce and suspense; "Jules and Jim" (1962), the wistful story of a love triangle; "Fahrenheit 451" (1966), his one excursion into science fiction; "The Wild Child' (1970), based on a true 19th-century story of a dedicated doctor's attempt to civilize a feral child; "Two English Girls" (1971), a tale of a young man in love with two sisters; "Day for Night" (1973), an homage to filmmaking that won an Academy Award for best foreign film; "The Story of Adele H" (1975), portraying an obsessive love; "Small Change" (1976), exploring the lives of children in a French village; and a theatre tribute, "The Last Metro" (1980).Truffaut was strongly influenced by French filmmakers Jean Vigo and Jean Renoir and by English-American director Alfred Hitchcock. In "Truffaut at Work", film expert Carole Le Berre looks beyond the usual anecdotal sources about Truffaut to reveal an inspired and inspiring portrait of one of the most influential directors of the 20th century.
She draws heavily from Truffaut's personal papers and the archives of the film studios he worked for detailing shooting schedules, budgets, memos, letters, storyboards and transcripts of discussions with key collaborators. The result is a major reassessment of the working methods of this groundbreaking director.
'Meticulous...not only is Truffaut at Work good on uncovering the works in progress, it is also adept at joining the dots between projects...you can't fault [Le Berre's prose] for thoroughness and informed enthusiasm...and a plethora of behind-the-scenes black-and-white images that make the director look like the coolest man who ever walked the earth.'