Home > Movies, Reviews (Movies) > La Nuit Americaine [Truffaut, 1973]

La Nuit Americaine [Truffaut, 1973]

La Nuit Americaine was an inevitability. Like its big brother, Godard’s Le Mépris, it allowed a fixated cinephile to decompress. It reveals some sour opinions. It airs cheeky grievances. Above all, it is an exuberant investigation of the filmmaking process.

In more ways than one, La Nuit Americaine is a cop-out. The film sometimes hides behind thick meta revelations that lead down the road to nowhere. In addition, Truffaut, visibly tired and possibly even jaded, throws himself into a substantial acting role. It is hardly a surprise that he took a two-year sabbatical immediately after its release. Neither is it a surprise to believe that it is some sort of culmination for Truffaut. Spending his entire life ensconced in cinema, he must have been relieved to finally open a parcel full of books on Buñuel, Hawks, Lubitsch, and the rest. He even gives them a healthy close-up, as arbitrary as they are.

To be fair, it’s hard to think of a disingenuous movie in all of Truffaut’s oeuvre. No matter the age, he brings such a youthful exuberance to the screen. Where Godard strikes some viewers as cold and theoretical, Truffaut fills the same space with a wistful longing to remake the films he saw during his childhood. One of the most striking moments of La Nuit Americaine comes when Truffaut’s director is dreaming of his younger self stealing Citizen Kane stills from a local exhibit. Certainly, he is one filmmaker who understands the psychological power of cinema at the most basic level. It’s not merely an element of his existence, it’s a dream that he tried to find. This may be exactly what makes La Nuit Americaine so recklessly spotty at times — made by a man who loves and understands film so deeply that he overestimates its potential. Nevertheless, Truffaut manages to breathe ecstasy into a film even when he is ready for a break.

Portions of the film succeed with silly but ambitious deconstructions of the filmmaking process. One scene deals with a troublesome actress and her trouble with memorization. Not only does the sequence dissect various levels of the cinematic fantasy, it also makes earnest acknowledgments of the hyper-emotional world of acting. The second half of the film is particularly astute in washing away the line between fiction and reality in regards to actors and their relationships and connections with one another. Visually, La Nuit Americaine demonstrates the absurd talent in Truffaut to make pivotal decisions the same way that we decide to wake up in the morning. It’s in his nature to effortlessly block scenes and choreograph camera work that is essential to the storytelling. At the same time, it also shows us how easily he is sucked into an exclusive reality. There is little evidence of a universe outside of Truffaut’s film.

If there is one word to describe La Nuit Americaine, it’s playful. An always-youthful tribute.

74.05

Advertisements
  1. January 25, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    I simply had to thank you so much all over again.
    I am not sure what I would’ve achieved without those basics provided by
    you directly on this subject matter. It was actually a real distressing matter in my circumstances, but being able
    to see this expert avenue you resolved the issue
    made me to cry for happiness. I’m happy for the guidance and then believe you are aware
    of an amazing job that you are doing instructing some other people all through a site.

    I know that you haven’t encountered all of us.

  2. February 12, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    I wanted to compose you this bit of note so as to thank
    you yet again for your remarkable information you have provided on
    this site. It’s quite shockingly open-handed with
    you to offer extensively what exactly many individuals would’ve supplied for an e book to
    end up making some bucks for their own end, and in
    particular since you could have tried it in case you
    considered necessary. These strategies as well acted to provide a good way to
    understand that other people online have the identical interest really like my very own to know the truth a whole lot more in respect of this condition.
    I know there are several more fun times ahead for those who read carefully your website.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Post a comment or Pick a fight

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: