This book presents a study on François Truffaut's films. It reviews the body of work which foregrounds the main themes and discusses Truffaut's working practices as a director, drawing on his own writing about his film-making. The book commences with an introduction on his first film, Les Mistons. The energy and resilience of children act as vital counters to a morbid preoccupation with death, visible here in the fatal ending to the couple's romantic idyll. By choosing as subject for his film an exploration of the young male's sexual awakening, by situating it in a French provincial town and by adopting the realist mode, Truffaut was making an important statement. The book seeks to situate Truffaut both historically and culturally and the second aiming to give a broad overview of his films and their critical reception. It then provides a closer analysis of one film, Jules et Jim (1961), both as a means to discuss more precisely Truffaut's style of film-making and to provide an example of how a film may be 'read'. The book discusses the 'auteur-genre' tension, the representation of gender, the relationship between paternity and authorship and, finally, the conflict at the heart of the films between the 'absolute' and the 'provisional'. Truffaut's films display mistrust of the institutions that impose social order: school (Les 400 Coups), army (Baisers volés), paternal authority (Adèle H.) and the written language.
French provincial town and by adopting the realist mode, Truffaut was making an important statement: one of the first shots to be fired in the campaign to launch a new way of making films, the campaign that was to become the Nouvelle Vague (the New Wave). What Les Mistons is as a film is less significant than what it is not: it cannot be easily ascribed to a particular genre. If its simple story line at first suggests a
from it, and it became in the nineteenth century the repository of conservative attitudes. Nevertheless its impact was considerable. There were soon Sociétés Philanthropiques in French provincial towns. And, as we shall see in Chapter 7 , in 1788 there was a Philanthropic Society founded in London. Philanthropy in the 1780s was making its mark. In Britain philanthropy in the 1780s began to be seen as in tune with the enlightened spirit of the age. The Times in 1785 wrote of ‘The spirit of philanthropy and religious tolerance that so peculiarly mark the present