A passionate moviegoer from the age of 8, the legendary French critic and filmmaker cut school as a child to sneak into Parisian cinemas. As a critic for the influential publication Cahiers du Cinema, Truffaut authored hundreds of articles, including a manifest that established the auteur theory that he and his French New Wave colleagues embodied.

The MFAH's tribute to the legendary film critic and auteur, begun in September, continues with highlights from his middle and late periods. All of these films are presented on 35mm, with the exception of the digitally restored Jules and Jim. Truffaut died on October 21, 1984.

Baisers volés - Stolen Kisses (1968)

Jean-Pierre Léaud reprises his role as Antoine Doinel, the protagonist of François Truffaut’s iconic directorial debut, The 400 Blows (1959). Doinel is now in his early 20s—older, but little wiser. After being dishonorably discharged from the army, he is unable to hold onto one job for long, and is just as unwilling to commit to his girlfriend. Truffaut creates a comedy that explores youth’s fickleness, perfectly personified by the energetic and charismatic Léaud.

Sunday, October 5 I 5 PM Get Tickets

Tirez sur le pianiste - Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

Truffaut takes his first dip into American pulp with this adaptation of the David Goodis novel Down There, and he comes out with an homage to the film noirs he loved. Charlie (Charles Aznavour) is bar pianist with a secret past who prefers solitude, but his interactions with a waitress (Marie Dubois) and his on-the-run criminal brothers dispel his quiet life. Alternating between humor, excitement, and melancholy, this unconventional crime film is just as preoccupied with the difficulty of romantic relationships as it is with gun fights.

Saturday, Oct 11 I 6 PM Get Tickets

La mariée était en noir - The Bride Wore Black (1968)

Taking inspiration from an American crime novel by Cornell Woolrich (under the pseudonym William Irish), François Truffaut presents Jeanne Moreau as the eponymous bride. Over the course of the film, she methodically tracks down and kills five men in a variety of ways, for reasons soon revealed to the audience. Backed by a stunning Bernard Herrmann score, and clad in striking black and white costumes by Pierre Cardin, Moreau’s unstoppable force of vengeance remains empathetic, a great credit to her craft. Truffaut demonstrates his idolization of Alfred Hitchcock in this cinematic tribute to the master of suspense, creating stylized set pieces of tension with touches of dark comedy to create a memorable piece of entertainment.

Saturday, Oct 11 I 8 PM Get Tickets


Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

In adapting Ray Bradbury’s novel, François Truffaut ignored, for the most part, the science fiction aspects of the story, and instead focused on the theme of linguistic and cultural deprivation in a bookless society. A married fireman (Oskar Werner), hired to find and burn books, journeys from one camp to another through a relationship with a woman (Julie Christie) who reawakens his affection for the written word.

Shot in color and in English, Fahrenheit 451 reflects Truffaut’s own attraction to literature. Truffaut said, “I have always preferred the reflection of life to life itself,” and in the representation of the book people as living examples of the power of literature. Fahrenheit 451 may be one of his most personal films.

Friday, Oct 17 I 7 PM Get Tickets


Jules et Jim (1962)

A hymn to total freedom in love and a lament for the impossibility of achieving it, Jules and Jim marks the beginning of Truffaut’s mature work. A tale of two men and a woman sharing life and love over a period of 20 years, the overriding theme in the film is the characters’ awareness of the fragility of their happiness. In belle époque Paris, best friends Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) meet Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), a woman who enchants both men. Marriage, childbirth, the Great War, infidelity, and suicide affect the three characters over two decades as the audience regards the wildly uninhibited Catherine through the eyes of her male admirers.

Day for Night ( La nuit Américaine) (1973)

A film-within-a-film, Day for Night (referring to the technique of filming night scenes in daytime using special filters) interweaves the diverse components of filmmaking with what happens offscreen. Featuring Jacqueline Bisset, Nathalie Baye, Jean-Pierre Léaud, and ​François Truffaut himself, Day for Night is ultimately about the love for cinema and how it confers immortality. “Half of my films are romantic," Truffaut said. "The others strive to destroy romance.”

Saturday, Oct 25 I 7 PM Get Tickets

L’histoire d’Adèle H - The Story of Adèle H (1975)

While French writer Victor Hugo was in exile after Napoleon gained power, Hugo's daughter Adèle—a poet and composer in her own right—met and fell in love with a British officer on the Channel Islands. When the man rebuffed her, Adèle (1830–1915) became obsessed, and her behavior turned increasingly erratic as she followed him across the world.

Filmmaker François Truffaut spent six years dealing with the Hugo estate to bring the story to the screen. A 20-year-old Isabelle Adjani left the Comédie Française for the emotionally complex role and was universally praised for her intense performance in this psychological drama.

Friday, Nov 7 I 7:30 PM

La chambre verte - The Green Room (1978)

In this film based on stories by Henry James, François Truffaut stars as an obituary writer and World War I veteran who is haunted by the memories of his perished comrades and deceased wife. This preoccupation develops into a full blown obsession, as he begins to organize his life around memorializing the dead, which in the process isolates him from the living. He shares the obsession with Cecilia Mandel (Nathalie Baye), who falls in love with him.

Saturday, Nov 8 I 7 PM

Le dernier métro -The Last Metro (1980)

In Nazi-occupied France, a theatrical troupe struggles to make sure that the show must go on. The production of their latest play is complicated by the disappearance of their Jewish director (Heinz Bennent), who is actually residing in the theater basement—a secret known only by his actress wife (Catherine Deneuve), who finds ways for him to indirectly control the production. Meanwhile, the new lead actor (Gérard Depardieu) is beginning to take more active roles in the Resistance. Gorgeously authentic artistic design round out this romantic portrayal of the need to perform on and off stage, as a way of dealing with what Truffault referred to as “day-to-day cruelties” of life during the Occupation.

Friday, Nov 21 I 7 PM

Vivement Dimanche - Confidentially Yours (1983)

François Truffaut’s final film is, appropriately, another loving ode to film noir and Hitchcockian thrillers. A man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) goes into hiding when it looks like he murdered his wife and her lover. Unable to prove his own innocence, his spunky secretary (Fanny Ardant) takes on the role of investigator to find the real culprit. Embracing clichés in a tongue-in-cheek manor, this fun black-and-white romp takes place in a recognizably contemporary world which stylistically harkens back to the past.

Saturday, Nov 22 I 7 PM

MFAH - Law building 1001 Bissonnet Houston, Texas 77005

Remembering François Truffaut

When
October 5 - November 22, 2014
Where
MFAH - Law building
1001 Bissonnet
Houston, Texas 77005

A passionate moviegoer from the age of 8, the legendary French critic and filmmaker cut school as a child to sneak into Parisian cinemas. As a critic for the influential publication Cahiers du Cinema, Truffaut authored hundreds of articles, including a manifest that established the auteur theory that he and his French New Wave colleagues embodied.

The MFAH's tribute to the legendary film critic and auteur, begun in September, continues with highlights from his middle and late periods. All of these films are presented on 35mm, with the exception of the digitally restored Jules and Jim. Truffaut died on October 21, 1984.

Baisers volés - Stolen Kisses (1968)

Jean-Pierre Léaud reprises his role as Antoine Doinel, the protagonist of François Truffaut’s iconic directorial debut, The 400 Blows (1959). Doinel is now in his early 20s—older, but little wiser. After being dishonorably discharged from the army, he is unable to hold onto one job for long, and is just as unwilling to commit to his girlfriend. Truffaut creates a comedy that explores youth’s fickleness, perfectly personified by the energetic and charismatic Léaud.

Sunday, October 5 I 5 PM Get Tickets

Tirez sur le pianiste - Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

Truffaut takes his first dip into American pulp with this adaptation of the David Goodis novel Down There, and he comes out with an homage to the film noirs he loved. Charlie (Charles Aznavour) is bar pianist with a secret past who prefers solitude, but his interactions with a waitress (Marie Dubois) and his on-the-run criminal brothers dispel his quiet life. Alternating between humor, excitement, and melancholy, this unconventional crime film is just as preoccupied with the difficulty of romantic relationships as it is with gun fights.

Saturday, Oct 11 I 6 PM Get Tickets

La mariée était en noir - The Bride Wore Black (1968)

Taking inspiration from an American crime novel by Cornell Woolrich (under the pseudonym William Irish), François Truffaut presents Jeanne Moreau as the eponymous bride. Over the course of the film, she methodically tracks down and kills five men in a variety of ways, for reasons soon revealed to the audience. Backed by a stunning Bernard Herrmann score, and clad in striking black and white costumes by Pierre Cardin, Moreau’s unstoppable force of vengeance remains empathetic, a great credit to her craft. Truffaut demonstrates his idolization of Alfred Hitchcock in this cinematic tribute to the master of suspense, creating stylized set pieces of tension with touches of dark comedy to create a memorable piece of entertainment.

Saturday, Oct 11 I 8 PM Get Tickets


Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

In adapting Ray Bradbury’s novel, François Truffaut ignored, for the most part, the science fiction aspects of the story, and instead focused on the theme of linguistic and cultural deprivation in a bookless society. A married fireman (Oskar Werner), hired to find and burn books, journeys from one camp to another through a relationship with a woman (Julie Christie) who reawakens his affection for the written word.

Shot in color and in English, Fahrenheit 451 reflects Truffaut’s own attraction to literature. Truffaut said, “I have always preferred the reflection of life to life itself,” and in the representation of the book people as living examples of the power of literature. Fahrenheit 451 may be one of his most personal films.

Friday, Oct 17 I 7 PM Get Tickets


Jules et Jim (1962)

A hymn to total freedom in love and a lament for the impossibility of achieving it, Jules and Jim marks the beginning of Truffaut’s mature work. A tale of two men and a woman sharing life and love over a period of 20 years, the overriding theme in the film is the characters’ awareness of the fragility of their happiness. In belle époque Paris, best friends Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) meet Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), a woman who enchants both men. Marriage, childbirth, the Great War, infidelity, and suicide affect the three characters over two decades as the audience regards the wildly uninhibited Catherine through the eyes of her male admirers.

Day for Night ( La nuit Américaine) (1973)

A film-within-a-film, Day for Night (referring to the technique of filming night scenes in daytime using special filters) interweaves the diverse components of filmmaking with what happens offscreen. Featuring Jacqueline Bisset, Nathalie Baye, Jean-Pierre Léaud, and ​François Truffaut himself, Day for Night is ultimately about the love for cinema and how it confers immortality. “Half of my films are romantic," Truffaut said. "The others strive to destroy romance.”

Saturday, Oct 25 I 7 PM Get Tickets

L’histoire d’Adèle H - The Story of Adèle H (1975)

While French writer Victor Hugo was in exile after Napoleon gained power, Hugo's daughter Adèle—a poet and composer in her own right—met and fell in love with a British officer on the Channel Islands. When the man rebuffed her, Adèle (1830–1915) became obsessed, and her behavior turned increasingly erratic as she followed him across the world.

Filmmaker François Truffaut spent six years dealing with the Hugo estate to bring the story to the screen. A 20-year-old Isabelle Adjani left the Comédie Française for the emotionally complex role and was universally praised for her intense performance in this psychological drama.

Friday, Nov 7 I 7:30 PM

La chambre verte - The Green Room (1978)

In this film based on stories by Henry James, François Truffaut stars as an obituary writer and World War I veteran who is haunted by the memories of his perished comrades and deceased wife. This preoccupation develops into a full blown obsession, as he begins to organize his life around memorializing the dead, which in the process isolates him from the living. He shares the obsession with Cecilia Mandel (Nathalie Baye), who falls in love with him.

Saturday, Nov 8 I 7 PM

Le dernier métro -The Last Metro (1980)

In Nazi-occupied France, a theatrical troupe struggles to make sure that the show must go on. The production of their latest play is complicated by the disappearance of their Jewish director (Heinz Bennent), who is actually residing in the theater basement—a secret known only by his actress wife (Catherine Deneuve), who finds ways for him to indirectly control the production. Meanwhile, the new lead actor (Gérard Depardieu) is beginning to take more active roles in the Resistance. Gorgeously authentic artistic design round out this romantic portrayal of the need to perform on and off stage, as a way of dealing with what Truffault referred to as “day-to-day cruelties” of life during the Occupation.

Friday, Nov 21 I 7 PM

Vivement Dimanche - Confidentially Yours (1983)

François Truffaut’s final film is, appropriately, another loving ode to film noir and Hitchcockian thrillers. A man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) goes into hiding when it looks like he murdered his wife and her lover. Unable to prove his own innocence, his spunky secretary (Fanny Ardant) takes on the role of investigator to find the real culprit. Embracing clichés in a tongue-in-cheek manor, this fun black-and-white romp takes place in a recognizably contemporary world which stylistically harkens back to the past.

Saturday, Nov 22 I 7 PM

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