Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
François Roland Truffaut (February 6, 1932–October 21, 1984) was one of the founders of the French "New Wave" in filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. He wrote, directed, acted in and produced over thirty films.
Truffaut was born out of wedlock in 1930s Paris, where he was raised by his mother and his adopted father Roland Truffaut. He never met his biological father. Truffaut had a difficult childhood that resulted in rebellion against his parents in particular and authority in general. Truffaut reported that his film The 400 Blows (1959) was largely autobiographical. His love of films partly came from his elective father, the writer and critic André Bazin.
On October 29, 1957 he married Madeleine Morgenstern at the City Hall in Paris, with whom he had two children, Laura (b. January 22, 1959) and Eva (b. June 29, 1961). His father-in-law, a film producer and distributor, helped to get Truffaut's career off the ground. He and Morgenstern divorced in 1965. In 1983, he had a daughter with actress and constant companion Fanny Ardant, Joséphine, (b. September 28, 1983).
The dynamics of relationships are a common thread throughout most of his films.
Truffaut was an expert on Alfred Hitchcock, even publishing a book Hitchcock (also known as Hitchcock/Truffaut) which recorded interviews and conversations with Hitchcock. His last film Confidentially Yours, a comedy thriller in black and white, could be considered to be a "fake Hitchcock".
Truffaut's 1973 production of La Nuit américaine won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Also an actor, he sometimes played in his own films, and appeared memorably in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Truffaut suffered from a brain tumor which was diagnosed in 1983. He died shortly thereafter in the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 52. He was buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.
Among Truffaut's films one can discern a series featuring the character Antoine Doinel , played by the actor Jean-Pierre Léaud who began his career in The 400 Blows at the age of fourteen, continuing as the favourite actor and "double" of Truffaut himself. The series would continue until Love on the Run, while passing by Antoine and Colette (a short film in the anthology Love at Twenty ), Stolen Kisses and Bed & Board. In most of these movie's Léaud's partner is Truffaut's favourite actress Claude Jade as his girl-friend, and then wife, Christine Darbon.
A keen reader, Truffaut filmed many novels:
American detective novels (The Bride Wore Black and Mississippi Mermaid by William Irish , Confidentially Yours by Charles Williams, or Shoot the Piano Player by David Goodis and Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me by Henry Farrell ); novels by Henri-Pierre Roché Jules and Jim and Two English Girls; Henry James' novel The Green Room, his most serious and deepest film; the science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
Truffaut's other films result from original scenarios, often co-written by the scenario writers Suzanne Schiffman or Jean Gruault , films on very diverse subjects, the energetic The Story of Adele H., inspired by the life of the daughter of Victor Hugo, with Isabelle Adjani, or La Nuit américaine, shot at the Studio La Victorine describing the ups and downs of film-making, which was rewarded by Hollywood with an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1973, or The Last Metro , set during the German occupation of France, a film rewarded by ten César Awards.
"The film of tomorrow appears to me as even more personal than an individual and autobiographical novel, like a confession, or a diary. The young filmmakers will express themselves in the first person and will relate what has happened to them. It may be the story of their first love or their most recent; of their political awakening; the story of a trip, a sickness, their military service, their marriage, their last vacation...and it will be enjoyable because it will be true, and new...The film of tomorrow will not be directed by civil servants of the camera, but by artists for whom shooting a film constitutes a wonderful and thrilling adventure. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it, and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has. The film of tomorrow will be an act of love." — François Truffaut, published in Arts magazine, May 1957 Source: Miami New Times
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