Hitchcock/Truffaut, film review: Kent Jones' excellent documentary is rewarding and enlightening

(12A) Kent Jones, 80 mins

Geoffrey Macnab
Friday 04 March 2016 00:02
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Winners in the frame game: the meeting of two movie greats is recounted in Kent Jones’s ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’
Winners in the frame game: the meeting of two movie greats is recounted in Kent Jones’s ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’

Kent Jones's documentary is inspired by the famous interview of Alfred Hitchcock by the French director François Truffaut – an interview which Truffaut regarded as every bit as important as one of his own films. Perhaps inevitably, the documentary is far more about Hitchcock than Truffaut. Jones has the original audio-tapes of that interview, which formed the basis of Truffaut's book, so we have plentiful material of Hitchcock speaking.

Jones has also done plenty of interviews with contemporary film-makers. His approach is rewarding and enlightening. He takes themes that Hitchcock and Truffaut touched on, and invites film-makers such as David Fincher (as articulate as any film critic) and Martin Scorsese to elaborate. The discussion of Hitchcock's work is technical and thematic. Jones looks at the director's use of actors (he likened them to cattle) and to his difficulties with "Method" stars such as Montgomery Clift, who refused to do what he was told and risked spoiling the "geography" of Hitchcock's film-making.

The only drawbacks to an excellent documentary are the skimpy treatment of Hitchcock's 1930s British work and the lack of diversity among the interviewees. Jones could have included at least one or two female film-makers.

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