Blu-ray Review: Day For Night

Of all the film directors who have ever lived there’s probably none with a greater love of cinema than François Truffaut. The great French auteur simply lived, breathed and ate film. As one of the greatest directors of the 20th Century and a pioneer of the French New Wave he helped define modern cinema. In Day for Night, his ultimate love letter to cinema, he depicts the production of a film from start to finish. However, it’s what goes on when the camera stop rolling which provides the drama.

Ferrand (Truffaut) is making Meeting Pamela and he’s determined that everything will go to plan. Juliet Baker (Jacqueline Bisset), an American actress, has been cast in the lead role, but it’s her first film after a nervous breakdown. Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Léaud) plays her young husband, who’s shocked when she falls in love with his father (Jean-Pierre Aumont). Whilst Ferrand strives to make a great film he has to cope with a succession of off-screen dramas.

Day for Night is the quintessential film about making a film. Truffaut cleverly juxtaposes the seemingly boring movie he’s making against the multiple relationship dramas going on behind the scenes. Not content with playing a director himself he also enlists other members of the crew to play, well, members of the crew. There’s a lightness and liveliness at play as he breaks down the boundaries between life and art. Day for Night is a beautifully plotted and paced ensemble film which takes great pleasure in celebrating the work of other filmmakers.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Pierre-William Glenn, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New visual essay by filmmaker :: kogonada
  • New interviews with Glenn and assistant editor Martine Barraqué
  • New interview with film scholar Dudley Andrew
  • Documentary on the film from 2003, featuring film scholar Annette Insdorf
  • Archival interviews with director François Truffaut, editor Yann Dedet, and actors Jean-Pierre Aumont, Nathalie Baye, Jacqueline Bisset, Dani, and Bernard Menez
  • Archival television footage about the film, including footage of Truffaut on the set
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic David Cairns

Day for Night is released on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as part of the Criterion Collection on Monday.

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