Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, ... See full summary »
Some time after "Baisers Volés", Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Christine Darbon (Claude Jade) are married and Antoine works dying flowers, and Christine is pregnant and gives ... See full summary »
In the town of Thiers, summer of 1976, teachers and parents give their children skills, love, and attention. A teacher has his first child, a single mother hopes to meet Mr. Right, another ... See full summary »
At the beginning of the 20th century, Claude Roc, a young middle-class Frenchman meets in Paris Ann Brown, a young Englishwoman. They become friends and Ann invites him to spend holidays at... See full summary »
Pierre Lachenay is a well-known publisher and lecturer, married with Franca and father of Sabine, around 10. He meets an air hostess, Nicole. They start a love affair, which Pierre is hiding, but he cannot stand staying away from her.
Stanislas Previne is a young sociologist, preparing a thesis on criminal women. He meets in prison Camille Bliss to interview her. Camille is accused to have murdered her lover Arthur and ... See full summary »
The shooting of "Je vous presente Pamela" (may I introduce Pamela) begins. This is the story of en English married wife falling in love and running away with the father of her French husband. Will be simultaneously shown the shooting, the behavior of the people (including the technical team) on the set, and a part of their private life (a factor of complication)... Written by
Several takes are wasted trying to get a cat to drink milk from a tray. Eventually Joelle brings in "the studio cat" to do the scene. But the cat that actually drinks the milk is actually a third, different cat. See more »
It's not my fault!
Cut! Once more.
It's not my fault if I'm confused! I don't know if she's Odile, the actress. Or, Odile the make-up girl! In my day, acting was acting and make-up was make-up! No wonder I'm confused!
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This film is dedicated to Lillian and Dorothy Gish. See more »
François Truffaut's "Day for Night" ("La nuit américaine") is a movie about the making of another movie, "Meet Pamela" ("Je vous présente Pamela"). From the snippets we see of "Meet Pamela", it looks like an insignificant and silly little film, even though its stars are fond of describing it to the press as a "modern tragedy." However, they mostly don't have time to philosophize about the larger meaning of "Meet Pamela"--they're just trying to film the darn thing!
"Day for Night" is an ensemble movie, showing how the many kinds of people on a film set surmount the many minor crises inherent in film-making. There are romantic entanglements and misalliances, as well as technical problems (e.g. the film's title refers to the necessity of shooting a nighttime scene using daylight and a special filter).
Valentina Cortese has some unforgettable, hilarious scenes as Severine, an alcoholic actress who can't remember her part. Also good are Nathalie Baye as an unflappable continuity girl; Jean-Pierre Léaud as an intense but callow young actor; and Jacqueline Bisset as an actress trying to survive the movie-making process after having suffered a nervous breakdown the prior year.
All these elements make "Day for Night" an entertaining movie. But upon reflection, I'm amazed at the craftsmanship it involved. Taking on the role of Ferrand, the director of "Meet Pamela," is Truffaut himself. He makes Ferrand into a professional, unassuming, and likable figure--it feels as though Truffaut put a lot of himself into his role. So it takes some conscious effort to disentangle Truffaut from Ferrand, but once that happens, Truffaut's astounding achievements become clear. As co-writer of the screenplay, Truffaut had a hand in everything that is said; as director of "Day for Night," he set up every shot in the movie. Even the shots in which he appears as Ferrand. Even the complicated shots that show the backstage workings of a movie set and feel so realistic that it's strange to think of them as having been set up. He shoots "Meet Pamela" unexceptionally, usually with a static camera (Ferrand-style) while the "real-life" scenes use hand-held cameras and other exciting techniques (Truffaut-style). It would probably take multiple viewings to appreciate all of what Truffaut did here.
I suppose this means that "Day for Night" is a noteworthy example of the "auteur theory." But that sounds like too dry and academic a summary for a movie that was made not only with superb skill, but also with a palpable love for cinema and love for life.
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