Read Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine de Baecque Free Online
Book Title: Truffaut: A Biography|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 853 KB
City - Country: No data
The author of the book: Antoine de Baecque
Edition: University of California Press
Date of issue: September 4th 2000
ISBN 13: 9780520225244
Loaded: 2675 times
Reader ratings: 3.3
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I hope I never outgrow my love for Jules et Jim. There's something about François Truffaut the man I admire regardless of Truffaut the artist. It's his combination of high intelligence and sweet innocence, so extremely rare, and all the more remarkable when you discover in this biography that the difficult childhood portrayed in Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) is not only almost entirely autobiographical, it had been much more desperate and traumatic. How did he maintain such a sweet nature despite all? A love of movies and women in equal measure partially explains it. You'd like to say such a combination of character is impossible nowadays, since from a young age we're forced to know too many things our little brains can handle; virginity in all aspects must be overcome as soon as possible; the police or your parents will never accept "but I didn't know" as an excuse. And what do you want to do with your life?
The following would have to be one of my favorite quotes I've come across in years, Truffaut, writing about himself in Paris Match,
I wouldn't consider having dinner with a man. I have this in common with Hitler and Sartre: I can't stand male companionship after seven in the evening. For me, the evening means private life in a private place; it's the time for whispered words, shared secrets, sincere exchanges. The only moment which can rival the joy of filming.
Hitler and Sartre in the same breath!? Why!? And why include yourself among this rogue's gallery François?!? But at this point in my life I agree with you: male companionship in lieu of whispered intimacies past a certain hour isn't worth the one-upmanship and posturing and bravado, a blast though that might be.
I love that the ole romantic can get carried away knowing what MUST be captured before it's too late, here while in pursuit of Isabelle Adjani,
You're a fabulous actress and, with the exception of Jeanne Moreau, I've never felt such a pressing desire to capture a face on celluloid, immediately, and without further delay. I accept the idea that theater is a noble cause (which Adjani was engaged in at the time), but my particular area is cinema and I came out of La Gifle with the conviction that you should be filmed every day, even on Sunday.
It is this Isabelle Adjani obsession Jean-Luc Godard rebuked Truffaut for: you've lost your way, man, stop filming her face.
In earlier days Truffaut would've been more concerned promoting the actresses he loves than being the one to capture them, in this case with the stunning Jeanne Moreau in 1957,
She is the greatest sweetheart in French cinema. While gangsters and gangs kill each other, she dances in a tutu in a circus, is tortured by a sadist and makes her way through bursts of submachine-gun fire, with thoughts only of love. With trembling lips, wild hair, she ignores what others call 'morals' and lives by and for love. Messieurs, producers and directors, give her a real part and we will have a great film.
"Morality" is such an ugly word, but with Truffaut it signals lightness of being,
I see life as very hard; I believe one should have a very simple, very crude and very strong moral system. One should say "Yes, yes" and do exactly as one pleases. This is why there can't be any direct violence in my films. Already in The 400 Blows, Antoine is a child who never rebels openly. His moral system is more subtle than that. Like me, Antoine is against violence because it signifies confrontation. Violence is replaced by escape, not escape from what is essential, but escape in order to achieve the essential.
Without violence and confrontation you end up with a very limited view on life (there is no Shakespeare without confrontation), but with Truffaut it somehow doesn't matter.
What I love about Truffaut the most is that his sweetness and intelligence is reflected best in his relationships with women, and all to outstanding measure, as they made him the artist he was, a romantic who spearheaded a movement along with Godard and Rohmer that gave us the beauties of France worth any other era, all with spontaneity, a flexible moral code, a love of fashion, a need for Platonic appreciation of feminine beauty. Baudelaire said there's no poetry without appreciation first. That pretty much defines the atmosphere that produced Truffaut's films.
Diffidence was part of his charm, and he used it as an asset in seducing women, or in letting women seduce him. Liliane Dreyfus says, for example, "François had a female sensibility; he knew how to read expressions in people's eyes." He sometimes could seem timid with a a woman, in the periods of his life when he lacked self-confidence or was reluctant to commit himself. But he could be bold and was capable of badgering women who resisted him or considered him a friend or a pleasant companion rather than a lover. He was "very loyal, but possessive," by several accounts. "There was always a beginning, rarely an end," Liliane Dreyfus says. "He protected me, like a father, husband, and brother all at once, at every point in my life. Which didn't prevent him from sometimes being cruel, even with the people he loved." "Deeply unfaithful, more out of an appetite for seduction, or a need to be loved, than out of an all-consuming need," is how Madeleine Morgenstern describes it. Love changed into friendship, or continued in a more lasting, explicitly sexual way. Jeanne Moreau referred to "inescapable harmonies."
..."However, François was not a hollow Don Juan. Because what counted most was his work, the idea of imposing his own style and his own world," said Philippe Labro, "the desire to exhibit all this talent."
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