A new celebration of one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation, film critic-turned-director, François Truffaut (1932-1984), will take place across the UK from January to February 2022. This major retrospective will include BFI Distribution re-releases of The 400 Blows (1959) and Jules Et Jim (1962), a two-month season at BFI Southbank, a collection of films available on BFI Player, partner seasons at cinemas including Edinburgh Filmhouse and Ciné Lumière, and BFI Blu-ray releases later in spring 2022. 

Alongside the BFI Southbank season – François Truffaut: For the Love of Films – which is programmed thematically, there will also be screenings of a series of films that Truffaut lauded in his film criticism or which were particularly influential on his own work.

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Truffaut spent a number of years working as a film critic at publications such as Cahiers du Cinéma, where he became renowned for his scathing reviews and a 1954 essay in which he criticised certain trends in French cinema. Along with peers like Jean-Luc Godard and Éric Rohmer, he became one of the most significant directors of the French New Wave of the 1950s and 1960s. This seminal movement, which revolutionised filmmaking with its preference both for a playful approach to narrative and for shooting on location, would go on to influence the ambitions and practice of many filmmakers of the 60s, 70s and beyond, while countless filmmakers, from Steven Spielberg and Bong Joon Ho to Greta Gerwig and Wes Anderson, continue to hold Truffaut’s work in high esteem.

Further programme information

The BFI will bring a raft of Truffaut films back to the big screen in cinemas around the UK and Ireland and then onto the small screen. BFI Distribution will re-release The 400 Blows (1959) in a new 4K restoration on 7 January 2022, followed by the re-release of Jules Et Jim (1962) on 4 February 2022. Cinemas will also be able to screen another five Truffaut films, all via BFI Distribution; Shoot the Pianist (1960), La Peau douce (1964), The Bride Wore Black (1968), Mississippi Mermaid (1969) and The Last Metro (1980). 

In the spring, the BFI will release Jules et Jim, The 400 Blows, The Last Metro and La Peau douce on Blu-ray, each presented with contextualising extras and an illustrated booklet in their first pressings. A collection of 10 Truffaut films will be available to subscribers of BFI Player from January, with the four BFI Blu-ray titles being made available on BFI Player later in the spring. 

The two-month season at BFI Southbank, running from January to February 2022, curated by BFI programmer at large Geoff Andrew, will feature thematic strands, so that audiences can easily explore Truffaut’s rich and varied back catalogue. In January, the Antoine Doinel films will introduce or reacquaint audiences with the character who some have described as Truffaut’s fictional alter-ego; Antoine Doinel is depicted over a 20-year period in The 400 Blows (1959), short sequel Antoine et Colette (1962), Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed and Board (1970) and Love on the Run (1979). 

Also in January will be The Renoir Truffaut, named for the French filmmaker who was a major influence on Truffaut. Screenings in this part of the programme that show Renoir’s significant influence will include The Wild Child (1970), A Gorgeous Girl like Me (1972), Day for Night (1973), The Man Who Loved Women (1977) and The Last Metro (1980). 

In February, the season will focus on The Literary Truffaut, with screenings of films that Truffaut adapted for the screen, including Jules et Jim (1961), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), The Story of Adele H (1975) and The Green Room (1978). 

The final theme of the season will examine The Hitchcock Truffaut, named for the director with which Truffaut is often associated, and whose work was of great influence on him. Films screening will include the brilliant merging of American noir and the New Wave style seen in Shoot the Pianist (1960); the subtle account of an extra-marital affair La Peau douce (1964); and Truffaut’s most overt tribute to Hitchcock, Mississippi Mermaid (1969) starring Catherine Deneuve and legend of the French New Wave Jean-Paul Belmondo, who recently died aged 88.

Further reading

François Truffaut: 10 essential films

By David Parkinson

François Truffaut: 10 essential films

How they did love: Emmanuel Laurent on Godard and Truffaut

How they did love: Emmanuel Laurent on Godard and Truffaut

10 great French New Wave films

By Samuel Wigley

10 great French New Wave films