Day for Night
La nuit américaine
1973, 116 min., color, Blu-ray projection source, new restoration
This affectionate farce from François Truffaut about the joys and strife of moviemaking is one of his most beloved films. Truffaut himself appears as the harried director of a frivolous melodrama, the shooting of which is plagued by the whims of a neurotic actor (Jean-Pierre Léaud), an aging but still forceful Italian diva (Valentina Cortese), and a British ingenue haunted by personal scandal (Jacqueline Bisset). Both an irreverent paean to the prosaic craft of cinema and a delightful human comedy about the pitfalls of sex and romance, “Day for Night” is buoyed by robust performances and a sparkling score by the legendary Georges Delerue.
Describing “Day for Night” as “a hilarious and informative movie,” Time Out asserts that “in the pantheon of films about filmmaking, it strikes a neat balance between the operatic neuroses of ‘8 1/2’ and the warm, pastel-hued nostalgia of ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’” Philip French in the Guardian writes: “Set in Nice's Victorine Studios, where it was filmed, ‘Day for Night’ is a touching, funny and accurate account of the travails (accidents, disputes, affairs, imbroglios, death) involved in the making of an all-star international picture called ‘Je vous présente Paméla.’ It is a Pirandellian affair, an elegiac celebration of a dying kind of cinema, a meditation on the connection between film and life by Truffaut, who plays Ferrand, the film's constantly troubled yet dedicated director, a man much like himself. Ferrand compares the process of filmmaking to ‘a stagecoach journey into the far west. At the start you hope for a beautiful trip. But shortly you wonder if you will make it at all.’”