François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard’s love for cinema brought them together; politics and aesthetics drove them apart. This expertly documented and riveting exploration of the New Wave is unmissable for anyone fascinated by film art.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
Cannes, 1959. The 400 Blows carries off the Best Director award. Its young director and even younger star, François Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Léaud, storm the red carpet: a French revolution is about to overthrow the respectable film world establishment. Jean-Luc Godard, two years older than Truffaut, his close friend and fellow film critic, hears the furore in the Cahiers du cinéma’s office in Paris. The next year, his debut, Breathless, scripted by Truffaut, will triumph and win him Best Director at Berlin: the New Wave has definitively raised the stakes. Within ten years the love of movies that brought its two prime movers together cannot transcend changed politics and aesthetic shifts; staunch loyalty becomes fierce enmity. Drawing from a wealth of archival footage, expertly chosen excerpts, correspondence and criticism, this film, directed and written by two French film historians, takes us on a riveting exploration of two great filmmakers’ lives and an approach to cinema that was to resonate for generations to come. — SR