Day for Night VHS
François Truffaut's lavish and fun 1973 comedy-drama about a film production is a clever hall of mirrors, with Truffaut himself playing a director, and his most important actor in real life, Jean-Pierre Léaud (The 400 Blows), portraying Jacqueline Bisset's immature costar. Day for Night is full of tales undoubtedly told out of school and repeated here in camouflage, and one can't help but be impressed with the stylistic and technical means by which Truffaut captures the adventurousness of a full-budget shoot. The cast is very good all around, with actors in some cases playing fictional thespians and in other cases playing members of the crew. A sequence set to thrilling music by Georges Delerue celebrates the whole art of filmmaking as seen from an editor's perspective--it makes one want to drop everything and shoot a film of one's own. --Tom Keogh
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This is one of the best movies I have seen about making movies -- the mechanics of making movies. Quality of the final product doesn't matter to many of the participants -- the stunt man, for example, focuses on his "trick" and moves on to another movie -- it may appear in a great movie, or a bad movie -- the stunt man doesn't really care.
Truffaut himself plays Ferrand, the director of a movie named “Meet Pamela,”; everyone involved seems to agree that it is going to be pretty terrible. But Ferrand doesn't seem to care; he loves the process, not the artistic achievement. And Truffaut as a master of both technique and the psychology of people who make movies for a living, has created a minor masterpiece.
Technical devices are accurate and informative; the title comes from a filtering technique that turns day into night by a filter over the lens of the camera..
Ferrand's philosophy of movie making captures the essence of this fine effort: “Shooting a movie is like a stagecoach trip. At first you hope for a nice ride. Then you just hope to reach your destination.”
And it is a movie for people like me that love movies. Another character replies to his girl friend interested in a nice dinner: “Little restaurants? You must be joking! Don’t you know Nice has 37 movies? We can grab a sandwich.”
I kept catching myself up -- "Meet Pamela" and its mechanics are always there, of course, but "Day for Night" presents something very real. And the something comes from Truffaut himself who said in an interview: “The most beautiful thing I have seen in a movie theater is to go down to the front, and turn around, and look at all the uplifted faces, the light from the screen reflected upon them.”
Robert C. Ross
PS: This movie played beautifully, both sound and image, over a very fast WIFI in my apartment and played on my Lenovo ThinkPad. R.
The acting was excellent, and the behind the scenes look at the process of shooting a movie (with Trufaut playing himself as the unflappable director) was interesting, charming, and at time hilarious.
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