Combustible Celluloid
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With: Wes Anderson, Olivier Assayas, Peter Bogdanovich, Arnaud Desplechin, David Fincher, James Gray, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Richard Linklater, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Bob Balaban (narrator)
Written by: Kent Jones, Serge Toubiana
Directed by: Kent Jones
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for suggestive material and violent images
Running Time: 79
Date: 12/11/2015

Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

He Confesses

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

If you're a lover of film and you own even a few film books, one of them is bound to be Francois Truffaut's extended interview with Alfred Hitchcock, first published in 1966, but updated throughout the years. Its major achievement was to elevate Hitch from a mere maker of entertainments to a Great Artist of the Cinema. Now the esteemed film critic and filmmaker (and new director of the New York Film Festival) Kent Jones brings the story of that book to the screen. It focuses less on the actual relationship between Truffaut and Hitchcock, however, than it does on Hitchcock's legacy. Jones has invited ten talented auteurs from France and the U.S.A. (and even Japan) to discuss Hitchcock's legacy and influence. (Peter Bogdanovich, in particular, knew the master of suspense and published his own interviews with him).

Some of the interviewees deconstruct their favorite film moments, and a great many clips are shown. (The underrated The Wrong Man gets special attention from Scorsese.) If you're not a Hitchcock fan (what's wrong with you?) then this could be a good place to have your mind changed, but even if you are a fan, the movie's enthusiastic appreciation of his genius is infectious and has the effect of getting you excited all over again. If only a little more time could have been spent on Truffaut, who died in 1984 (just four years after Hitch), and is arguably best known today not for his own films, but for his role as the French scientist in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind; to that end, Jones has cleverly cast Truffaut's onscreen co-star, Bob Balaban, to narrate.

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