By Adam Cook
One of the most sacred texts in cinephilia and certainly for auteurism, François Truffaut’s 1967 Hitchcock/Truffaut (based on a week-long interview Truffaut conducted with Hitchcock in 1962) isn’t just an invaluable in-depth study of one of cinema’s greatest masters, it’s also an incredible text about two artists who admired each other. As with Peter Bogdanovich’s This Is Orson Welles, many of the book’s most memorable moments derive not simply from the privileged insights into a master filmmaker’s method, but from the pleasure and excitement of two passionate people bouncing ideas off one another.
It would be difficult to bring this conversational dynamic to life in a documentary, and it would be too easy to compile the book’s greatest hits into a series of soundbites punched up with behind-the-scenes tidbits. Instead, in his Hitchcock/Truffaut critic/programmer/filmmaker Kent Jones pays homage to the spirit of his film’s namesake by mining the passion at the book’s core and expanding the conversation. Enlisting the participation of a slew of chatty cineastes to offer their own thoughts and feelings on the book, Hitchcock’s work, and how each has impacted them, Jones has made not so much Hitchcock/Truffaut as Hitchcock/Truffaut/Scorsese/Assayas/Gray/Desplechin/Fincher. Jones’ film is an endearing portrait of filmmaker-to-filmmaker adoration that brings Truffaut’s landmark book into the present, making its dialogue feel continuous, fresh, and alive.