Day for Night

La nuit américaine

Image for Day for Night

Dir. François Truffaut

France 1973 | Colour | 115 mins | Drama

Cast: Jacqueline Bisset, Nathalie Baye, Alexandra Stewart, Jean-Pierre Léaud

Imbued throughout with Truffaut’s infectious passion for the magic of cinema, this wise, witty blend of comedy and drama is arguably the most charming of all his films.

The title alludes to how our belief in movie storytelling is dependent on all manner of deceits, and it’s that gulf between reality and illusion which Truffaut – here playing the director of a melodrama being shot at a studio in Nice – delights in exposing and exploring. As the production proceeds, it’s the job of the director to keep the chaos of real life off-camera – be it a diva repeatedly fluffing her lines, a feline extra’s feeding habits, or the tempestuous romanticism of an immature leading man (Truffaut regular Jean-Pierre Léaud). Though behind-the-scenes gags abound, they never distract from the emotional truths of a script that constantly acknowledges the roles played in our lives by fantasy, anxiety and desire. A superb cast perfectly embodies the fleeting joys and pitfalls of teamwork, and Georges Delerue’s soaring score echoes the exhilaration of fertile creativity.

– Geoff Andrew

Available on: 35mm


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