Thursday, August 25, 2016
Based on the book by Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock/Truffaut is a documentary film about the interview with filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock by Truffaut where the two talked about Hitchcock’s own films during this eight-day interview that Truffaut would make into a book. Directed by Kent Jones and screenplay by Jones and Serge Toubiana, the film is about the meeting that took place that offices of Universal Studios in 1962 where several contemporary filmmakers talk about that meeting and what it meant for the world of cinema. The result is a mesmerizing film from Kent Jones.
In 1962, French filmmaker Francois Truffaut went to Hollywood with a translator to meet the famed British filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock following a series of corresponding letters where Truffaut praised the works of Hitchcock. The meeting that took eight days in the offices of Universal Studios where Truffaut would talk to Hitchcock about all of his films that would later become a book about Hitchcock and his work as a filmmaker. The film isn’t just about the meeting between the two filmmakers but also the book itself as it would be seen as something very influential to other filmmakers who would view cinema as a serious form of art and present Hitchcock as one of the great artists of the 20th Century.
The documentary would inter-cut not just footage from the many films of Hitchcock with some by Truffaut but also pictures of the meeting and interviews of filmmakers who were influenced by the book. From old-school masters such as Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, and Peter Bogdanovich to contemporary filmmakers like David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Arnaud Desplachin, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the filmmakers talk about the importance of Truffaut and several other French New Wave filmmakers who didn’t just cite Hitchcock as an influence but also talk about the depth of his work as a filmmaker as they felt audiences didn’t take his craft very seriously and only saw them as just suspenseful entertainment.
The film also features many audio tidbits of the meeting between Hitchcock and Truffaut as well as stories of a friendship that built where the two gave advice to each other about what to do with their respective films. Kent Jones also play into the different periods of Hitchcock’s career and how his work in silent films would do a lot for the films he would make in the emergence of sound. With the aid of editor Rachel Reichman in assembling some of the film footage and some rare footage of Hitchcock working on a film set. Kent showcases the artistry of what Hitchcock was doing with the filmmakers commenting on some of the things he was doing as well as provide discussions on some of his great films like Psycho and Vertigo.
With the aid of cinematographers Nick Bentgen, Daniel Cowen, Eric Gautier, Mihai Malaimare Jr., Lisa Rinzler, and Genta Tamaki as well as a team of sound mixers, many of the interviews are straightforward as it allows the filmmakers to showcase not just their love for Hitchcock and Truffaut but also delve into their reason into Hitchcock’s stature as a prominent artist. The American release features narration by Bob Balaban to discuss many of the aspects of the meeting between Hitchcock and Truffaut while the French release is narrated by Mathieu Almaric. The film’s music by Jeremiah Bornfield is superb for its mixture of orchestral music that play into the events of the meetings while music of the music soundtrack comes from the various films by Hitchcock and Truffaut.
Hitchcock/Truffaut is a remarkable film from Kent Jones. Not only is this a film that fans of cinema would want to see but it also displays something for casual audiences about the power of cinema and how a filmmaker wants to celebrate the work of another by showing the world of that man’s brilliance. In the end, Hitchcock/Truffaut is an incredible film from Kent Jones.
© thevoid99 2016