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François Truffaut

François Truffaut

A lifelong cinephile, François Truffaut first made his cinematic mark as a fiery, contentious critic for Cahiers du cinéma in the 1950s, denouncing the French film industry’s bloated “tradition of quality” and calling for the director to be redefined as the auteur, or individual author, of the film. Truffaut then became an auteur himself, starting with The 400 Blows, which won him the best director award at Cannes and led the French new-wave charge. The 400 Blows remains Truffaut’s seminal film, yet he continued to reinvigorate cinema throughout the sixties, with such thrilling works as Shoot the Piano Player and Jules and Jim. Truffaut also continued to follow the adventures of 400 Blows protagonist Antoine Doinel—embodied by Jean-Pierre Léaud—through the seventies (Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, Love on the Run), while directing such other classics as Day for Night and The Last Metro, which displayed his undying love for cinema and life. His own life was tragically cut short at the age of fifty-two.