Censored Voices, in which the attempt to bring to visual life some important audio tapes mostly fails to do so, the new documentary HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT, based upon the landmark book in which film directors François Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock met and exchanged, over nearly one week, a wealth of ideas about cinema, the resulting movie, adapted, directed and co-written (with Serge Toubiana) by Kent Jones (shown below), succeeds brilliantly on several levels.
Martin Scorsese doc, My Voyage to Italy, as well as directing other good ones like Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows and A Letter to Elia. Here, you might say that he updates Truffaut's original by adding some very smart, incisive interview snippets with some of today's finest filmmakers, who tell us what Hitch and his films have meant to them -- from Fincher to Kurosawa (Kiyoshi: Cure), Assayas to Linklater, Anderson to Desplechin, plus Bogdanovich, Scorsese, Schrader and James Gray.
Psycho. "It was the first time that going to the movies was dangerous." (That was certainly my experience, as a 19-year-old at the time of the film's release.) And Linklater: "The world was ready for a film like that. It didn't know it was. But it was."
Marnie (yes, the use of color and psychology), The Birds, Sabotage and Saboteur, Notorious, and Rope, with most attention paid to Vertigo (above and below) and Psycho. Fincher talks of the guilt that seems to set off Hitch's work, while Schrader notes the fellow's use of fetish objects. And then we get something that the book used in words that is here both audial and visual. The famous interviews come to life on film!
Bob Balaban, the movie is above all enjoyable -- like picking up the book itself, beginning to read, and then being whisked away into the films themselves (including, briefly, The 400 Blows).
Montgomery Clift in I Confess, is a prime example of this). Hitchcock/Truffaut is chock-a-block with thoughtful, intelligent ideas. "As Fincher puts it: "Acting is a great part of movie-making, but it is not the only part." Hitchcock puts it a bit differently: 'That's why all actors are cattle."
Cohen Media Group and running just 80 exhilarating minutes, the documentary opens this coming Wednesday, December 2, in New York City at Film Forum and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema, in Los Angeles on Friday, December 4, at the Landmark NuArt, and in more than a dozen cities in the coming weeks. To view all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters, click here and scroll down.