Saturday, December 13, 2008

Response XIV- Day For Night

I have great respect for the director Jean-Luc Godard, but I must admit, the screening of Francios Truffaut's film "Day For Night," was like a breath of fresh air after seeing so many Godard films. I believe that this film provided so much relief for me because it was easy to follow and I could actually enjoy the film without actually have to think about it a great deal. I am disappointed that more Truffaut films are not screened. Truffaut impresses me more and more with every film I see of his.

This film was very unique in that it was a film that was about the making of a film. Truffaut portrays film production beautifully in "Day For Night." It really showed how stressful film production could be, and how in the film industry you must regard film as being more important than your life. This was portrayed best when one of the main characters from "Meet Pamela" goes out in search of Jean-Pierre Leaud's character who ran away. This character named Alexandre, lost his life in search of Leaud. I felt like he sacrificed his life for the sake of producing "Meet Pamela."

That character was not the only one who put the film before his life. I feel as if all of the actors of "Meet Pamela" did so as well. Of course they did not do so in the same manner as Alexandre. I could tell all the other actors put the film first because they were not stable people and had identity issues. I believe that these actors, as well as actors in general, spend so much time portraying different types of characters, and putting their life into their work that they neglect their lives and fail to establish an identity and a stable state of mind. Truffaut does an excellent job of showing this in his film. Severine is a whiny, high-maintenance diva who solves her problems with alcohol, Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is childish and an attention-seeker, and Julie Baker is involved in controversy, is unstable and has nervous breakdowns which lead her to requesting ridiculous things like large quantities of butter. The only time the actors seemed normal to me was when they were acting.

The fact that the actors seemed normal only when they were portraying different people shows that Truffaut was trying to present film as place that is better and happier than reality. I believe that Truffaut's dream sequences that show a little boy stealing "Citizen Kane" posters suggested this as well. Truffaut's character was under a lot of pressure from a lot of people in this film. When he is asleep, he hears the voices of the people who are causing him stress, and then the audience sees the dream sequence. This dream obviously means that Truffaut's character escapes the cruelties and the hardships of reality with film.

I was very impressed with Truffaut's portrayal of the film industry at the time. During the long scene when Severine is acting out a scene, at one point she becomes frustrated and says, "I am just going to do what I do when I work with Fellini," and she begins stating a sequence of numbers. This is referring to the fact that directors used international casts in their films during that time. They would often acting while saying random things and then the voices would be dubbed in.

I do not want to say that this film is Truffaut's best work because I have said that about every Truffaut film I have seen thus far. What I can say is that this film was well done, very original, and immensely entertaining.

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