Francois Truffaut

Truffaut, François

François Truffaut (fräNswä´ trüfō´), 1932–84, French film director and critic. Known in his early 20s as a writer for the influential French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma, he was noted for his excoriating criticism of traditional French filmmaking and for his promotion of the auteur theory. The director, he believed, should have creative control over all aspects of the film. He was one of the first of the "new wave" directors of the late 1950s and 60s to make films that were less studio-bound and script-dominated. Truffaut's films are noted for their surface charm, which often masks a highly ironic, even bitter, undercurrent. His films The 400 Blows (1959), Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed and Board (1970), and Love on the Run (1979) comprise a kind of filmed autobiography. Other notable works include Shoot the Piano Player (1960), Jules and Jim (1961), The Wild Child (1971), Day for Night (1973), The Story of Adele H. (1975), and The Last Metro (1978). He occasionally took leading roles in his own films. He acted only once under another director, in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

Truffaut collected his criticism in The Films in My Life (1975; tr. 1978). See also biographies by A. de Baecque and S. Toubiana (tr. 1999) and A. de Baecque (tr. 2001); studies by G. Petrie (1970), C. G. Crisp (1972), and A. Insdorf (1987); documentaries dir. by S. Toubiana and M. Pascal (1993) E. Laurent (2009), and A. Gillain (tr. 2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique
Marilyn Fabe.
University of California Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Auteur Theory and the French New Wave: Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows"
Film and the Critical Eye
Dennis DeNitto; William Herman.
Macmillan, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "Jules and Jim Directed by Francois Truffaut"
Becoming Film Literate: The Art and Craft of Motion Pictures
Vincent Lobrutto.
Praeger, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 25 "French New Wave: Jules and Jim"
Film Directors on Directing
John Andrew Gallagher.
Praeger, 1989
Librarian’s tip: "Francois Truffaut" begins on p. 259
Playing Doctor: Francois Truffaut's L'Enfant Sauvage and the Auteur/autobiographer as Impersonator
Codell, Julie F.
Biography, Vol. 29, No. 1, Winter 2006
Incorporating Images in Film: Truffaut and Emblems of Death
Smith, Alan K.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 32, No. 2, June 1999
Running Scared: Masculinity and the Representation of the Male Body
Peter Lehman.
Temple University Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Francois Truffaut begins on p. 39
French Cinema in the 1980s: Nostalgia and the Crisis of Masculinity
Phil Powrie.
Clarendon Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Francois Truffaut begins on p. 78
French Cultural Studies: An Introduction
Jill Forbes; Michael Kelly.
Oxford University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Francois Truffaut begins on p. 174
To Act or to Perform: Distinguishing Filmic Autobiography
Gernalzick, Nadja.
Biography, Vol. 29, No. 1, Winter 2006
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