STARRING: ALFRED HITCHCOCK; FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT; DAVID FINCHER; RICHARD LINKLATER; PETER BOGDANOVICH; WES ANDERSON
DIRECTED BY: KENT JONES
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
There are two actions that take place after one watches Kent Jones’ newest film- Hitchcock/Truffaut. You go online and search Amazon.com for a copy of the book of the same name, which the documentary is based on, or you want to watch every film in either Alfred Hitchcock or Francois Truffaut’s career. No matter what, the newest film from Jones is an eighty minute course on the work of Hitchcock, who inspired the young Truffaut, and the cavalcade of directors that Jones interviewed in this documentary. One thing that’s for sure, if you love cinema, then Hitchcock/Truffaut is a must see.
A film such as this will have film buffs rejoicing. It provides recordings from the interview that took place at Universal Studios between The 400 Blows director, the Psycho director, and a translater-Helen Scott, who was able to bridge the language gap between the two. Along with images, scenes from Hitchcock’s films, and other delicious bits of information, the film highlights that the conversation between these two auteurs was a turning point for both filmmakers, and revealed that Hitchcock’s films were just as much a form of art as any of the French New Wave or Neo-Noir films overseas.
Jones assembles a poignant all-star collection of directors to interview about his subjects. He uses them in the talking head style to discuss Hitchcock, and the books influence. With names like Scorsese, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, and Richard Linklater, they give an inside look to the impact these films had on movies of their own. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa goes out of his way to acknowledge that he tries to make his films as far away from Hitchcock’s style because he believes his films are “too good to even attempt to be like.”
The film has a notable absence of the female perspective, which speaks to the few numbers of female directors in Hollywood. One can hope that an updated look at Hitchcock in the future would allow us to see the female side, something that Hollywood still needs to work on.
What the film does have is a depth to it which it covers the art of filmmaking, while peeking into the personal lives of these two men. The film dips into Truffaut’s upbringing, with his father actually putting him in jail at a young age, and transitioning from film critic to director. He would look up to people such as Roberto Rossellini for inspiration, while in Hitchcock’s case, he was the leader in the states of filmmaking. The look into the psyche of Hitchcock’s directorial decisions is one of command. He treated his films more like a dictatorship than a collaborative piece. As Hitchcock relates to Truffaut that “actors are like cattle”, you can tell that he knew what he wanted, and it was always his way.
Fans of filmmakers and Alfred Hitchcock historians will want to watch Hitchcock/Truffaut. It is not every day that an audience is allowed the chance to be a fly on the wall while these many great directors talk shop. Kent Jones has done a great thing for the art of cinema with this film. He has brought these historic directors back into the public eye, and that is something that directors do not do enough of.
Written by: Leo Brady