Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day for Night

Francois Truffaut's Day for Night is an interesting, often funny, look into the inner workings of the cinema world. Almost a film within a film, Truffaut surrounds himself in his own picture. Thus, Day for Night plays like Truffaut's love letter to cinema; the film is a tribute to the art of making a movie and everything that comes with it, as well as a nod to Truffaut's influences. There is a great reoccurring dream sequence where a young Truffaut steals Citizen Kane promo stills from a movie theater, pointing towards both the huge critical acclaim the film enjoyed in France as well as its effects on the New Wave scene and its players.

Another knowing wink towards Truffaut's influences and contemporaries occurs during a scene where Truffaut's character gets a package of books, filled with volumes on Hitchcock, Godard, and others. I'm also almost positive I saw a reference to Jean Cocteau.

Someone in class mentioned that Truffaut is almost a masochist in that he seems to enjoy, or is at least ambivalent about, surrounding himself with his cast and crew, many of whom have their own shortcomings and issues; the lead actress demands a tub of butter before she'll see anybody in her dressing room, and the lead actor is a lovesick drama queen whose acting is most intense off the set and in a bedroom.

All in all, Day for Night is a great film that manages to capture everything, for better and for worse, that Truffaut loves about film.

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