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François Truffaut

François Roland Truffaut (February 6, 1932October 21, 1984) was one of the founders of the French "New Wave" in filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. He wrote, directed, acted in and produced over thirty films.



Truffaut was born out of wedlock in 1930s Paris, where he was raised by his mother and his adopted father Roland Truffaut. He never met his biological father. Truffaut had a difficult childhood that resulted in rebellion against his parents in particular and authority in general. Truffaut reported that his film The 400 Blows (1959) was largely autobiographical. His love of films partly came from his elective father, the writer and critic André Bazin.

On October 29, 1957 he married Madeleine Morgenstern at the City Hall in Paris, with whom he had two children, Laura (b. January 22, 1959) and Eva (b. June 29, 1961). His father-in-law, a film producer and distributor, helped to get Truffaut's career off the ground. He and Morgenstern divorced in 1965. In 1983, he had a daughter with actress and constant companion Fanny Ardant, Joséphine, (b. September 28, 1983).

The dynamics of relationships are a common thread throughout most of his films.

Truffaut was an expert on Alfred Hitchcock, even publishing a book Hitchcock (also known as Hitchcock/Truffaut) which recorded interviews and conversations with Hitchcock. His last film Confidentially Yours, a comedy thriller in black and white, could be considered to be a "fake Hitchcock".

Truffaut's 1973 production of La Nuit américaine won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Also an actor, he sometimes played in his own films, and appeared memorably in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Truffaut suffered from a brain tumor which was diagnosed in 1983. He died shortly thereafter in the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 52. He was buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.


Among Truffaut's films one can discern a series featuring the character Antoine Doinel, played by the actor Jean-Pierre Léaud who began his career in The 400 Blows at the age of fourteen, continuing as the favourite actor and "double" of Truffaut himself. The series would continue until Love on the Run, while passing by Antoine and Colette (a short film in the anthology Love at Twenty), Stolen Kisses and Bed & Board. In most of these movie's Léaud's partner is Truffaut's favourite actress Claude Jade as his girl-friend, and then wife, Christine Darbon.

A keen reader, Truffaut filmed many novels:

American detective novels (The Bride Wore Black and Mississippi Mermaid by William Irish, Confidentially Yours by Charles Williams, or Shoot the Piano Player by David Goodis and Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me by Henry Farrell); novels by Henri-Pierre Roché Jules and Jim and Two English Girls; Henry James' novel The Green Room, his most serious and deepest film; the science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Truffaut's other films result from original scenarios, often co-written by the scenario writers Suzanne Schiffman or Jean Gruault, films on very diverse subjects, the energetic The Story of Adele H., inspired by the life of the daughter of Victor Hugo, with Isabelle Adjani, or La Nuit américaine, shot at the Studio La Victorine describing the ups and downs of film-making, which was rewarded by Hollywood with an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1973, or The Last Metro, set during the German occupation of France, a film rewarded by ten César Awards.


Filmography of François Truffaut

Written (W), Directed (D), Acted (A), Produced (P)

French Title U.S. Title Year Stars
Vivement dimanche! Confidentially Yours 1983 Fanny Ardant, Jean-Louis Trintignant D
La Femme d'à côté The Woman Next Door 1981 Fanny Ardant, Gérard Depardieu D P
Le Dernier métro The Last Metro 1980 Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu D P
L'amour en fuite Love on the Run 1979 Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade D P
La Chambre verte The Green Room 1978 François Truffaut, Nathalie Baye D A P
L'homme qui aimait les femmes The Man Who Loved Women 1977 Charles Denner, Brigitte Fossey D A
Rencontres du troisième type Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977 A
L'Argent de poche Small Change 1976 D A P
L'Histoire d'Adèle H. The Story of Adele H. 1975 Isabelle Adjani D A
La Nuit américaine Day for Night 1973 Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jacqueline Bisset D A
Une belle fille comme moi Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me 1972 Bernadette Lafont D
Les deux anglaises et le continent Two English Girls 1971 Jean-Pierre Léaud D A
Domicile conjugal Bed & Board 1970 Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade D
L'Enfant sauvage The Wild Child 1969 François Truffaut D A
La Sirène du Mississippi Mississippi Mermaid 1969 Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Belmondo D
Baisers volés Stolen Kisses 1968 Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade D
La Mariée était en noir The Bride Wore Black 1968 Jeanne Moreau D
Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451 1966 Julie Christie, Oskar Werner D
La peau douce The Soft Skin 1964 Françoise Dorléac D
L'Amour à vingt ans (Antoine et Colette) Love at Twenty (Antoine and Colette) 1963 Jean-Pierre Léaud D
Jules et Jim Jules and Jim 1961 Jeanne Moreau,Oskar Werner, Henri Serre D
Tire au flanc Sad Sack, The 1961 D A P
Tirez sur le pianiste Shoot the Piano Player 1960 Charles Aznavour D
Les quatre cents coups The 400 Blows 1959 Jean-Pierre Léaud D A P
Les mistons The Mischief Makers 1957 D
Une visite 1955 D


"The film of tomorrow appears to me as even more personal than an individual and autobiographical novel, like a confession, or a diary. The young filmmakers will express themselves in the first person and will relate what has happened to them. It may be the story of their first love or their most recent; of their political awakening; the story of a trip, a sickness, their military service, their marriage, their last vacation...and it will be enjoyable because it will be true, and new...The film of tomorrow will not be directed by civil servants of the camera, but by artists for whom shooting a film constitutes a wonderful and thrilling adventure. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it, and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has. The film of tomorrow will be an act of love." — François Truffaut, published in Arts magazine, May 1957 Source: Miami New Times (


External link

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