Review: Filmmaker masters meet in ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

“Hitchcock/Truffaut” is a sharp study of film from several of its masters.

Director Kent Jones’ vivid documentary takes the 1962 meeting between Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut as a jumping-off point to explore Hitchcock’s work, his approach and his influence.

At the time the two sat down, Hitchcock was wrapping up his career as the Master of Suspense, and Truffaut — 30 years Hitch’s junior — was the budding French New Wave filmmaker who sought to validate Hitchcock’s work as more than mass market entertainment.

The result of their meeting, the 1966 book from which the film takes its name, is celebrated as an indispensable text on filmmaking and film technique.

Jones gets several of the book’s students — including Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson — to discuss their experiences with it and with Hitchcock’s films.

Eventually “Hitchcock/Truffaut” becomes less about the pair’s meeting and more about the hyper-specifics of Hitch’s style, which can be a semester-long film study in and of itself. Scorsese gets to discussing the framing of certain signature shots — notice how the top of the steering wheel is visible in the bottom of the shot as Janet Leigh drives her car in “Psycho” — and suddenly film school is in session.

But it’s not a bad problem to have. Anytime you get smart and accomplished filmmakers talking about film, theory and their respective styles, the results are rewarding. And when the topic is Hitchcock, there are plenty of avenues to explore. You’ll end up learning something, and you’ll want to learn even more.



Rated PG-13 for suggestive material and violent images

Running time: 80 minutes

Detroit Film Theatre