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Devoted, humble, kind: Why François Truffaut and his work should never be forgotten

Ahead of a major BFI retrospective of Truffaut’s films, Geoffrey Macnab looks back on his career, and wonders how the French New Wave director seems to have fallen out of vogue

Friday 19 November 2021 06:30
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<p>Movie magic: the director at work in 1966</p>

Movie magic: the director at work in 1966

He really liked women – a lot. Not all directors like women. Sometimes, they really don’t do you justice,” Jacqueline Bisset says of the French filmmaker François Truffaut, who directed her in the Oscar-winning 1973 film Day for Night.

Truffaut (1932-1984) is the subject of a major UK-wide BFI retrospective starting in January. Several of his films will be rereleased. The season will provide a chance to re-assess a director who, close to 40 years after his death, has fallen strangely out of vogue. Today, in the UK, very little of his work is in circulation.

The season is programmed in four themes: The Antoine Doinel Cycle (looking at the series of autobiographical films he made throughout his career with Antoine as his alter ego), The Renoir Truffaut (exploring the influence of Jean Renoir on his work), The Literary Truffaut and The Hitchcock Truffaut. There isn’t, however, a section on Truffaut and women. Nor is there one on Truffaut and children. Arguably, they were the real key to his work.

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