Yesterday morning in Paris I attended a screening of Kent Jones‘ edifying Hitchcock/Truffaut, which Jones directed and co-wrote with Cinematheque Francaise director Serge Toubiana. Slated to show on 5.19 at the Cannes Film Festivals, the 80-something-minute doc is a sublime turn-on — a deft educational primer about the work and life of Alfred Hitchcock and, not equally but appreciably, Francois Truffaut. Efficient, well-ordered, devotional.
No, it didn’t tell me anything about Hitchcock or his many films or Truffaut’s renowned “Hitchcock/Truffaut” book (a feature-length q & a interspersed with frame captures from Hitch’s films) that I didn’t already know, but that’s okay — almost every detail of the book’s material was absorbed into my system decades ago.
The bounce, if you will, comes from the talking heads — David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Olivier Assayas, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, James Gray, Arnaud Depleschin, one or two others — each enthused and semi-aglow in their own way. Memories, associations, gratitude.
To me Hitchcock/Truffaut seems good and wise enough to seduce the novice as well as the sophisticated cineaste. It’s a fully absorbing, excellent education. As you might expect, it made me want to read the book all over again.
It contains many snippets of interview audio between the two men. My favorite Hitch quotes: (a) “Logic is dull” and (b) “Plausibility was not allowed to rear its ugly head.”
I sat up in my seat when Jones revealed a brief glance at contact sheet images of Hitch shooting the Phoenix hotel room scene (Janet Leigh, John Gavin) in Psycho — images I’d never seen before. I asked Jones if I could somehow post a few of them but he wasn’t encouraging. Apparently they’re under some kind of copyright lock and key. Which of course is nonsensical at this stage.