Cine-File’s Kyle Cubr reviews the documentary “Hitchcock/Truffaut”

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In 1962, François Truffaut held a weeklong interview with Alfred Hitchcock to discuss the latter’s prolific film career. A condensed version of these conversations was later published as a book entitled Hitchcock/Truffaut. The film HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT is a biographical documentary encompassing the lives of both directors before, during, and after their famous meetings. Kent Jones deftly weaves portions of the audio recordings from the interviews, snippets from the book, and sequences from Hitchcock’s films to create a history of The Master of Suspense’s oeuvre. The heart of the film asks whether Hitchcock was an artist or an entertainer. The auteur theory is championed in Hitchcock’s favor, as many of his iconic scenes are analyzed and praised through talking head interviews with the likes of Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, and Wes Anderson, among others. But it’s the admiring relationship between Truffaut and Hitchcock and their honest, thoughtful, and unpretentious dialogue that is the strong core of the film. Jones presents the discussion in such a way that one almost feels present in the room, like an unspeaking fourth party sitting next to Truffaut’s interpreter. Hitchcock’s influence on Truffaut can be seen in some brief sequences from THE 400 BLOWS and JULES AND JIM, but what truly is highlighted in these moments, are their differences, Hitchcock’s emphasis on his mise en scene and Truffaut favoring a more stylized approach to his directing. The editing in this film is quick and playful, shots never lingering too long on any one thing, keeping the subject engaging and accessible to both cinephiles and the casual viewer. HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT is a celebration of the friendship the pair forged back in 1962 and the love of cinema as an art form.

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