24 November 2016

THE CRITERION COLLECTION PRESENTS: TRUFFAUT'S 'DAY FOR NIGHT.' REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.



DAY FOR NIGHT. (1973) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT. STARRING FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT, JACQUELINE BISSET, VALENTINA CORTESE, DANI, JEAN-PIERRE LEAUD, DAVID MARKHAM, NATHALIE BAYE AND NIKE ARRIGHI.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This French-language film was such a pleasure to watch. Did you know that Francois Truffaut, the famous French director, once made a movie about making a movie? The fictional movie is called 'MEET PAMELA' and Truffaut plays a director called Ferrand who's making it, see?

I was a bit confused at first, like the blonde bubble-head that I am, haha, and I thought that 'MEET PAMELA' was a real film that Truffaut made and 'DAY FOR NIGHT' was a film about the making of same. I was even hoping that the movie 'MEET PAMELA' would be included in the extra features...! Silly moi, heh-heh-heh, as they would say in the French.

Anyway, obviously I was wrong. 'MEET PAMELA' is fictional, people. I can't stress that enough...! It's about a young man who takes his new girlfriend home to meet the parents, not exactly an original idea, haha. However, the lovely young girlfriend, Pamela, sees past the inexperience and boyish exuberance of her young beau to the more worldly-wise charms of his middle-aged (and married) Pops. And doesn't the s**t hit the fan then, movie fans!

Monsieur Francois Truffaut is wonderfully cuddly and sweet and every inch the gentleman as Ferrand, the director who is as much a babysitter, troubleshooter, nursemaid, confidante and father confessor to his cast and crew as he is Monsieur Le Director.

He's so handsome and stylish in his black flared slacks and tan leather jacket, and even more so when he takes off the jacket and rolls up the sleeves of the blue shirt he's wearing with a tie. He's efficient and brilliant as he expertly manipulates the cast and crew on the movie set as if they're chess pieces, while simultaneously mopping up their tears and listening to their many problems.

Jacqueline Bisset is gorgeously sexy as the beautiful but troubled young actress who's playing the lead role of Pamela in this (I now know!) fictional film. Having married her much older doctor after a nervous breakdown, she's the subject of much speculation amongst her co-workers, especially after she sleeps with her male lead, Alphonse who plays the boyfriend, when he's depressed about his script-girl girlfriend buggering off with the stuntman. Yeah, it's all going on here in Movie-land...!

Everyone's shagging everyone else, the ageing alcoholic diva actress needs constant reassurance and propping up, the woman playing the secretary has just been revealed to be preggers even though she's supposed to do a scene in a swimsuit and there are all kinds of last-minute snafus with costumes and props and the script and God knows what else.

All the excitement, panic, glamour. hard work, sleepless nights and niggly irritations of shooting a film is beautifully captured in this loving tribute to the greatest business of them all, the movie business. It argues the point that films are more important than life, or is it life that's more important than films? It's really up to the viewer to decide. Personally, I'd say it's about fifty-fifty...!

I love the camaraderie between the cast and crew and all the banter, and also the way that Truffaut's passion for cinema is shown clearly throughout the film. We see him as a little boy nicking film posters of Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE, a film he obviously adored from an early age, and as the director Ferrand taking delivery of some film books relating to some of the directors whose work he both respected and loved: Luis Buñuel, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Ernst Lubitsch, Roberto Rossellini and Robert Bresson.

Truffaut's love for Alfred Hitchcock has been well-documented. Earlier this year, I went to see the documentary film TRUFFAUT ON HITCHCOCK on the big screen and enjoyed it immensely. And, in fact, the affinity between the two, one for the other, has passed into popular culture, as evidenced by the character from THE SIMPSONS (I can't remember which one it is!) who was heard to remark:

'I'm gonna be on you like Truffaut on Hitchcock...!'

The film's title, by the way, refers to the practice of shooting a supposedly night-time scene in the daytime but slapping a filter over the lens to fool the viewer into thinking that it's actually dark, haha. And check out the adorable scene in which the studio cat single-handedly saves the day, or should that be single-paw-edly...? It's just too, too cute...!

This uplifting and award-winning tribute to movie-making is out now on Blu-Ray courtesy of THE CRITERION COLLECTION, naturally including about a million great extra features. Well, a million or thereabouts...! It's one of Truffaut's best-loved films, but you don't even have to be a fan of his work to enjoy this wonderful insider's view of the movie industry. You just have to love films.

Truffaut, one of the founders of the French New Wave cinema and a lifelong believer in cinema as an art-form, never achieved his personal goal of making thirty movies before retiring to write books. The twenty-five films he made, however, add up to a pretty impressive legacy. They'll do for me, anyway...!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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