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May 21, 2015


Hitchcock Truffaut Although inappropriately screened in the Cannes Classics section of the festival Kent Jones’s painstaking documentary, about the historic eight-day interview sessions between Francois Truffaut and his hero-filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock fulfills an essential niche in the history of cinema. The interviews, for which Truffaut carefully planned for in advance in the same way that he would prepare to make a film, approached each of Hitchcock’s films up to that point, in chronological order. The resulting book (“Hitchcock Truffaut”) became a touchstone for several generations of filmmakers, such as Olivier Assayas, David Fincher, Richard Linklater, and Paul Schrader — both of whom are interviewed in the documentary. The weakest link of the modern-day filmmakers that Jones includes for commentary is notorious art-house hack pretender James Gray, whose inclusion alongside the likes of Martin Scorsese hits a wrong note. That said, “Hitchcock Truffaut” makes ample use of clips from the films of both directors to explicate the methods and cinematic language each used toward telling stories on film. The effect is magical as it is informative. Seamlessly narrated by Bob Balaban’s non-imposing voice-over, the documentary walks a neat line between pedagogy and entertainment. The only danger is that the viewer may feel inspired to go on an Alfred Hitchcock bender after seeing it.


Not Rated. 78 mins. (B) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)


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