director Kent Jones
It’s very possible that the first film book I ever read was Hitchcock/Truffaut. I read it so long ago that I only have the vaguest memories of it, but I recall how the book went through each of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, highlighting things about the films in ways that I had never considered. It probably laid the groundwork of my thinking about Hitchcock in general.
Hitchcock/Truffaut, the documentary, explores the book, but also steps back from the book, contextualizing both Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut, interviewing directors who were influenced by one or both film-makers, and then getting to the heart of it, the 1962 interviews that Truffaut conducted with Hitchcock that became the meat of the book.
These interviews were conducted through a translator and caught on audio tape. The meetings were further documented in photographs, giving the film some real material of note. As good as the book may seem, it’s interesting to hear Hitch talk about his craft, which was something he had never really done. Truffaut was a true fan and critic, intensely familiar with Hitchcock’s work through his time at Cahiers du cinéma, and it’s clear that he stimulates Hitchcock to real consideration.
Film, of course, is the medium, so getting moving footage from Hitchcock’s films to lay against the discussion versus still images sequenced on paper, highlights matters well too.
All that said, Hitchcock/Truffaut the film is not necessarily masterful itself. It is quite worthwhile if you have an interest one, or both, of the subjects.