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Due to the release of the excellent 2015 documentary Hitchcock and Truffaut, there has been a lot of recent attention on the films of legendary French director Francois Truffaut. Having directed over 25 films in his career, Truffaut’s body of work is vast and exhilarating. There is one film in his repertoire which draws focus for several reasons. Day for Night is a drama that looks at the process of making a film, showing both the hardship and magic. In 1974 the movie picked up a BAFTA Award for Best Film and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. These accolades and the inventive nature of Day of Night underline its importance in the filmography of one of cinema’s most brilliant and imaginative voices.

Day for Night itself focuses on the creation of a film entitled Meet Pamela. This movie within a movie appears to be a straight forward melodramatic love story with a tragic ending. Day for Night charts the process of creating Meet Pamela and highlights the complex relationship between the cast and crew. We also witness the conflict between art and commerce and the temperament of the actors who are attempting to bring Meet Pamela to life. Drama is very much at the heart of Day for Night and Truffaut brings it to the screen with unabashed passion, humour and a total love of cinema. His influences are clear with visual references to Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and Ingmar Bergman obvious in every frame.

Frequent Truffaut collaborator Jean-Pierre Leaud plays the hapless actor Alphonse. He is in a difficult relationship with the script girl and this romance breaks down during course of the film when she leaves the production and runs away with the stuntman. Jacqueline Bisset stars as Julie Baker, an actress recovering from a nervous breakdown and marking a new stage in her life by marrying an older man. Her complex sentiments reach a climax when she has an affair with Alphonse. All these turmoils and tragedies are managed and mitigated by the director of the production Ferrand (played by Truffaut himself, who is clearly channelling his own experiences and proficiencies in the director’s chair). The result of all this confusion and endeavour is a cinematic masterpiece that truly shows the magic of cinema through drama, tension, comedy and an unabashed passion for filmmaking.