A film director struggles to complete his latest film
amidst a tirade of personal and professional crises.
Day for Night (1973)
Directed by François Truffaut
Written by François Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard,
Starring Jacqueline Bisset, Valentina Cortese, François Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Nike Arrighi, Dani,
David Markham, Alexandra Stewart, Nathalie Baye
Oscar Wins - Best Foreign Film
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actress (Valentina Cortese), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay
If you've ever tried to picture a Truffaut film set, this is the film you've been waiting for. I adore movies about movies, specifically films that detail the ins and outs of the filmmaking process. With Day for Night, Truffaut shows off his directing talent in a meta way, delivering an Oscar-winning depiction of a hectic director struggling to make his movie while his cast and crew are constantly creating their own problems that hinder production. More so, Truffaut refused to be lumped in with other filmmakers he saw as pretentious. He wanted it known that he was a storyteller who respected those who came before, and that's what he did with Day for Night.
Truffaut himself plays Ferrand, a director with a vision. He's making a romantic melodrama about a woman who runs off with her father-in-law, and everything that can go wrong does. The lead actress (Bisset) is fresh off a nervous breakdown and ends up sleeping with her costar (Leaud, Truffaut's consistent muse), who was recently dumped by his fiancé. Meanwhile, one of the supporting actresses is secretly pregnant and one of the leads dies in a car accident. But Ferrand makes do, because that's what a director must do. At the end of the day, the show must go on.
Throughout the film, Truffaut pays homage to the greats who influences him: Hitchcock, Bergman, Welles, Hawks, and many more. He's very much a director who wears his influences on his sleeve. I read that Jean-Luc Godard hated the movie and saw it as a personal sleight, to which Truffaut called Godard "a pretentious shit." That response alone has turned Truffaut into a personal hero, and his work is damn good too.