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Hitchcock/Truffaut

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Pretty much the cinematic equivalent of Einstein sitting down with Copernicus. This is the 100th 2015 film I’m reviewing here, so why not this little gem of a documentary. Alright, it’s too damn short at 80 minutes. So, there’s ample time given to “Vertigo”, “The Wrong Man”, and “Psycho”, along with snippets of “The Lodger”, “The 39 Steps”, and “Strangers on a Train”. But no where damn near enough on “Rebecca”, “Rear Window”, and “Frenzy”. The price of genius, I guess. And the curse of Hitch having directed 50+ features. Truffaut’s resume is much more compact, due to his untimely demise. But if there’s a more stunning debut (outside of “Kane”) then “The 400 Blows”, you’d have to do some work to convince me. It shattered me. Plus, I’m just discovering, that as I write about Francois on my 51st birthday, that he actually passed away on my 19th birthday, at the age of 52. Weird.

I don’t envy the enormous amount of material that director Kent Jones had to pick through to arrive at this deliriously, exhilarating hour and change. But also…I do. The film is based on the legendary 1966 Francois Truffaut book, about his 1962 meetings with Alfred Hitchcock. Essentially, the two European titans locked themselves in a room at Universal Studios for days, and sat around talking about movies. Glorious. And not only is there wonderful archive footage (video AND audio) presented here, but there are marvelous interviews with current film maestros like Wes Anderson, Olivier Assayas, Martin Scorsese, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. What struck me about the career arc of Hitch, is the rarity of someone of his talent level being on Earth at the right moment, to be able to go from silent film, to black-and-white talkies, to Hollywood color motion pictures. Talk about full throttle training. And, of course, Truffaut is credited with starting the French New Wave. In other words, is this stuff essential? In one word…yeah.

Grade:  A-

 

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