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François Truffaut

François Truffaut (February 6, 1932 - October 21, 1984) is an icon of the French film industry and one of the founders of the French "New Wave" in filmmaking. He wrote, directed, acted and produced.

François Truffaut was born out of wedlock in 1930s Paris where he was raised by his mother and his adopted father, Roland Truffaut. He never met his biological father. Truffaut had a difficult childhood which resulted in rebellion against his parents in particular and authority in general. Truffaut reported that his film The 400 Blows (1959) was largely autobiographical.

In 1957 he married Madeleine Morgenstern with whom he had two children. His father-in-law, a film producer and distributor, helped get Truffaut's career off the ground. In 1983, he had a daughter with actress and constant companion, Fanny Ardant.

The dynamics of relationships is a common thread throughout most of his films.

Truffaut was an expert on Alfred Hitchcock, even publishing a book simply named Hitchcock which recorded interviews and conversations with Hitchcock. His last film Confidentially Yours, a comedy thriller in black and white, is obviously a "fake Hitchcock".

François Truffaut won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for his 1973 production of Day for Night. Also an actor, he sometimes played in his own films and in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Truffaut suffered from a brain tumor which was diagnosed in 1983. He died shortly thereafter in an American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 52. He was buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris.


Among many of Truffaut's films, one can discern a series directed by Antoine Doinel, and featuring the actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, who begin his career in The 400 Blows at the age of fourteen, favourite actor and "double" of Truffaut himself. The series would continue until Love on the Run, while passing by Stolen Kisses and Bed & Board. In all these movie's Léaud's partner is Truffaut's favourite actress Claude Jade as his girl-friend and then wife Christine Darbon.

A keen reader, Truffaut filmed many novels:

American detective novels (The Bride Wore Black and Mississippi Mermaid by William Irish, Confidentially Yours by Charles Williams, or Shoot the Piano Player by David Goodis and Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me by Henry Farrell); novels by Henri-Pierre Roché Jules and Jim and Two English Girls; Henry James' novel The Green Room, his most serious and deepest film; the science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Truffaut's other films result from original scenarios, often co-written by the scenario writers Suzanne Schiffman or Jean Gruault, films on very diverse subjects, the energetic The Story of Adele H, inspired by the life of the daughter of Victor Hugo, with Isabelle Adjani, or Day for Night, shooted at the Studio La Victorine describing the ups and downs of film-making, rewarded at Hollywood with an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1973, or The Last Metro, set during the German occupation of France, a film rewarded by ten Cesar Awardss.

Filmography of François Truffaut

Written (W), Directed (D), Acted (A), Produced (P)
French Title U.S. Title Year
Vivement dimanche Confidentially Yours 1983 W D
La Femme d'à côté The Woman Next Door 1981 W D P
Le Dernier métro The Last Metro 1980 W D P
L'amour en fuite Love on the Run 1979 W D P
La Chambre verte The Green Room 1978 W D A P
L'homme qui aimait les femmes The Man Who Loved Women 1977 W D A
Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977 A
L'Argent de poche Small Change 1976 W D A P
L'Histoire d'Adèle H The Story of Adele H 1975 W D A
La Nuit américaine Day for Night 1973 W D A
Une belle fille comme moi Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me 1972 W D
Les deux anglaises et le continent Two English Girls 1971 W D A
Domicile conjugal Bed & Board 1970 W D
L'Enfant sauvage The Wild Child 1969 W D A
La Sirène du Mississippi Mississippi Mermaid 1969 W D
Baisers volés Stolen Kisses 1968 W D
La Mariée était en noir The Bride Wore Black 1968 W D
Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451 1966 W D
La peau douce The Soft Skin 1964 W D
L'Amour à vingt ans Love at Twenty 1963 W D
Jules et Jim Jules and Jim 1961 W D
Tire au flanc Sad Sack, The 1961 W D A P
Tirez sur le pianiste Shoot the Piano Player 1960 W D
Les quatre cents coups The 400 Blows 1959 W D A P
Les mistons The Mischief Makers 1957 W D
Une visite 1955 W D

See Also