|director & writer|
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
François Roland Truffaut was one of the founders of the French "New Wave" in filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. In a film career lasting just over a quarter of a century, he fulfilled the functions of screenwriter, director, producer or actor in over thirty films.
Truffaut came to filmmaking only after an early career as one of the most outspoken film critics in France, writing for Bazin's "les Cahiers du cinéma" (he became an editor of the review in 1953). The Cahiers at this time were intensely critical of post-war French cinema; they saw it as overtly literary at the time. As a result of the severity of his critiques, Truffaut was refused a press pass to the 1958 Cannes film festival. Along with his Cahiers colleagues, including Jean-Luc Godard and Éric Rohmer, Truffaut was enamoured with Hollywood filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Nicholas Ray and Howard Hawks, then often dismissed as mere genre film makers. In his 1954 article, Truffaut expounded the politique des auteurs, or Auteur theory of cinema which championed the idea that movies should reflect the personal vision and preoccupations of the director.
Truffaut was an expert on Sir Alfred Hitchcock, even publishing a book Hitchcock in 1962 (known as Hitchcock/Truffaut) which recorded interviews and conversations with Hitchcock. His last film "Confidentially Yours", a comedy thriller in black and white, could be considered to be a "fake Hitchcock".
Truffaut's 1973 production of "La Nuit américaine" (known in the US as "Day for Night") won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Also an actor, he sometimes played in his own films, and appeared memorably in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".
Truffaut suffered from a brain tumour which was diagnosed in 1983. He died shortly thereafter in the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 52. He was buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.