Day For Night

A French film crew shoots a romantic melodrama at a studio in Nice.  Would make a nice double feature with CQ.

Words that I jotted down while watching:


It’s shaming to see Truffaut so utterly in command of his tools while playing a director who constantly feels like he’s a failure and a fraud.  The ensemble work here is wonderful.  The narrative steps in and out of realism, scenes go from strict behavioralism to coy, affectionate commentary in the blink of an eye, the pace never drops a beat and Truffaut makes it all seem easy.

Late in the movie, Truffaut laments that movies like the one he’s shooting are a thing of the past, that there will never be big, fake studio pictures any more, that movies will from 1973 on will be shot in the street with non-actors.  I don’t know what he was thinking, but one of the sweet, sad things about watching this movie now is realizing that, to a large extent, the techniques being employed here, seen from the age of digital sets, digital backgrounds and digital actors, are as quaint today as a movie set during the time of silent film would have seemed to Truffaut.
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3 Responses to “Day For Night”
  1. rennameeks says:

    He was also unknowingly predicting reality tv. Ugh.

  2. craigjclark says:

    Day for Night was the second Truffaut film I ever saw thanks to the fact that the dubbed version ran on my pay cable station in the late ’80s. (The first would be Fahrenheit 451, but I didn’t know that was Truffaut when I saw it.) I’ve toyed with picking up the DVD so I could see it subtitled. That would make it a “real” foreign film.

    I love the scene where Truffaut compensates for Valentina Cortese’s inability to remember her lines by leaving them around the room for her to find as she walks around. And I always feel bad for the crew member who gives up his car so it can be driven off the side of the road for a stunt. I guess he wasn’t expecting it to be totalled.

  3. Have you ever read Terry Southern’s Blue Movie? I submit that’s a suitable complement to your CQ/Day For Night double feature. Plus it’s wicked funny.