Tuesday, 27 April 2010

La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night) [1973]

La Nuit Américaine (or Day for Night), a technique used to shoot nighttime sequences in daylight in order to save cost, is the ironic title of Francois Truffaut’s loving homage to the absolutely crazy act of making a movie. Freewheeling, intelligent, witty, irreverent and quintessentially French, Truffaut has shown us all the tricks of his fascinating trade, and some more. The French legend himself has played the director of a movie within the movie, as he tries going about making a melodrama (essentially the kind of film Truffaut would never make in his real life), as the entire process is besieged with troubles galore – the film’s young protagonist (played quite superbly and with inimitable panache by Truffaut-favourite Jean-Pierre Leaud) is an immature and temperamental intellectual, the lead actress (the beautiful Jacqueline Bisset) is an American star recovering from an emotional breakdown, the film’s third lead dies with the climax still to shoot, a perpetually depressed actress continually bumbles on her part thanks to her affection for alcohol, to name a few. The film is filled with hilarious set-pieces and the script is infectiously funny; in fact, even the scenes which ought to have been heavy end in irony, and the wry, straight-faced, self-deprecating humour will have one peeling with laughter on the floor. And the unforgettable (if deliberately self-serving) final voiceover from the auteur perfectly counterpoints all the whims, caprices, shams and phonies that come with this line of business.

Director: Francois Truffaut
Genre: Comedy/Satire/Showbiz Drama
Language: French
Country: France

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