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Martin Scorsese as Himself
Wes Anderson as Himself
David Fincher as Himself
Alfred Hitchcock as Himself

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by george.schmidt 10 / 10

Mutual Admiration Society - Cinephelic wet dream

HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT (2015) **** Cinephelic wet dream - fine documentary about how acclaimed filmmakers Francois Truffaut - a then up-and-coming New Wave French director - managed to coerce The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock for a week long series of in-depth convos on the latter's filmography and the thought process/creative links they both shared resulting in a treatise book/filmmakers/goer's bible and now the end result. Interspersed with fellow disciples of cinema Martin Scorsese, James Gray and brimming with talent David Fincher discuss how Hitch's influences enforced their own visions as well as groundbreaking the format for ages to come. Compiled by Kent Jones with appreciation and love. Go; enjoy.

Reviewed by ElMaruecan82 7 / 10

An Appetizer for the Real Meal: the 8-Day 1962 "Truffaut/Hitchcock" interview...

The title plays like a clever nod to "Frost/Nixon" but in this case, the interviewee's name is put first, a matter of respect that even Truffaut would have acknowledged. Look at the poster, Truffaut is like a disciple totally enthralled by the humorously pedantic look the Master is deigning to give him. In reality they were just having fun together, having earned a few minutes of relaxation after having provided so many hours of valuable insights not only on Hitchcock's movies but on his vision of film-making, and if anyone was entitled to say what film-making was about, no doubt it was the director with the iconic shadowy silhouette.

Indeed, even when he wasn't making great movies, Alfred Hitchcock was still the greatest director to have ever graced the screen. He reconciled two generally conflicting approaches: the artistic and the technical, he could indulge to symbolism, to hyperbolic visuals, to innovative dilatation or accelerations of time, to juxtaposition of shots or the use of specific leitmotiv but he never, never improvised: every frame, every moment was sketched, planned and studied with a meticulous attention to small (and pervert) details and a unique sense of anticipation. You can see this pattern even in that distinctively slow voice he had, as if he had to think before, set up his mind, before announcing a subject. And yet he could sound witty and funny on the spot. Hitchcock was a man of paradoxes, but he was himself a paradox, an artist, a technician and a natural.

That's the genius of Hitchcock. And that's how he became the true Master of Suspense; he had to get in control of every single element: the timing, the use of particular objects or plot device (his McGuffin darlings) as props, of even his characters as the props of his own creativity. His infamous "treat actors like cattle" takes its full meaning once you hear him talk about the attention for characterization and his fascination for human paradoxes: having a totally innocent man being mistaken from a dangerous criminal, a lovable family uncle being a serial killer or a sophisticated blonde have a volcanic libido in privacy. Hitchcock was like a Master Puppeteer, he didn't belong to the Elia Kazan or method acting of school, he pulled the strings himself and it's only fitting that his trademark theme was Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette". Basically, many of his movies can be looked at as a macabre march (or chase) of a puppet-like character.

But we were his puppets as well. Hitchcock could toy with our emotions like no other director, making it an instant signature, probably what made him recognized by 'Cahiers du Cinéma' as an auteur director. When then critic François Truffaut, along with New Wave icons to be (Chabrol, Brialy and Godard), started to re-evaluated the history of cinema, they defined the auteur as a director whose unique vision and sense of narrative and style shaped most of the movie. The idea wasn't to dismiss any movie from a non auteur but to say that even the lesser movie from an auteur will be more interesting than the other director's main work. In the documentary, Scorsese mentions that the art of directing is so reliant on contributions: from the actors, the editors, the writers, the musicians that you can't just make the director the sole 'maker' of the film what would "Psycho" be without Bernard Herrmann or Anthony Perkins.

Still, Hitchcock can get away with it. Even his lesser movies, with casting choices he ended up regretting, had a Hitchcockian quality. It started in the 30's, became widely known in the 40's and then culminated in the 50's. In 1962, he had just finished "Psycho" and was working on his "Birds" when Truffaut was only starting with three movies that met with international acclaim. Truffaut was like a critic, a journalist, a fan and a fellow director and on these four levels, he seemed to know more about Hitchcock than Hitchcock himself. From the interview, he released a book that became a Bible for cinema, a frame-by-frame study of Hitchcock's most creative film sequences on which David Fincher said to have been a huge influence on his future work.

Say what you want about Truffaut's movies but he shared at least with Hitchcock the passion for the art and the craft, the two really meant business. Now, there are many juicy facts to gather from the documentary, and they're punctuated by some neat interventions from directors such as Scorsese, Fincher or Anderson. But the biggest favor the documentary does is to encourage you to listen to the interview between Truffaut and Hitchcock and that's just an offer no film-maker can refuse. Hitchcock goes through every major film he made and provides his own insights, even criticism toward movies we generally praise. Hitchcock was a practical man believing a movie that didn't met the public has faulted in a way or another, and listening to him criticizing even Joan Fontaine in "Suspicion" is one of these 'a-ha' moments you're begging for. A director praising Hitchcock, what's new? Hitchcock criticizing his work, now, that's even better. The documentary isn't just about retrospective analysis, it also allows us to understand the elements that made Hitchcock such an iconic director.

It's Truffaut who said that Hitchcock never made movies that belonged to a time, he never followed trends and fashion, his movies belonged to himself and that way, end up being eternally modern. Hitchcock was obviously flattered by the compliment (coming in the first interview if I remember correctly) and could see that Truffaut wasn't an ordinary. You could feel the bond growing between the two men and the friendship would go on till Hitchcock's death. The interview is the real thing, this documentary is just an appetizer.

Reviewed by blanche-2 8 / 10

If you love Hitchcock and you love classic film, this is for you

HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT (2015) is a documentary version of a series of interviews that Francois Truffaut conducted with Hitchcock, which was released as a book of the same name.

The documentary offers an analysis of Hitchcock's mastery by various directors: Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Wes Anderson, James Gray, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich, David Fincher, and others. All of them offer interesting insight into Hitchcock's art. Truffaut interviews the director, with an interpreter present.

There are clips from Hitchcock's and Truffaut's films, including Hitchcock's silent movies. Sadly, Truffaut only lived for four years after Hitchcock's death, dying at 52.

Most interesting for this viewer was the analysis of Vertigo. One director notes that in Vertigo, we only see Kim Novak's back as she stares at Carlotta's painting. We imagine she is studying it, but as is pointed out, the whole thing is a hoax, and Hitchcock never photographs her from the front. "I would have gotten footage from the front," the director says. "But we're not that good."

Hitchcock describes James Stewart's obsession with Madeline in graphic sexual terms, that waiting for her to put her hair up in the bathroom, he is in reality waiting for her to emerge nude, and he has an erection. When she does emerge as his fantasy, it's as if in a dream.

And though his critics cite a lack of logic in some of his films, he says, "Logic is ordinary," and it's not something he particularly sought.

The analysis of Psycho was also fascinating, how he took the viewer in a completely different direction from the way the movie started, and how "ordinary" it seemed at the beginning.

Certainly Hitchcock's work tells us a lot about the man himself - I think inside his obese body, a handsome great lover hid and could only express himself in film. It's sad, but often artists are, and their art is a vehicle for their expression. Hitchcock was no exception.

My only criticism is personal - too many scenes from The Birds. I've never seen it. The thought of it terrifies me. Hitchcock had the power to fascinate, shock, and frighten - whether you'd seen a particular film or not.

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