In the 1960s, French New Wave pioneer Francois Truffaut conducted an extended interview for a book with his idol, Alfred Hitchcock, in which they discussed, film-by-film, Hitchcock's entire career. It was an uncannily valuable meeting of the minds, and is the inspiration for critic Kent Jones's documentary, named correspondingly, Hitchcock/Truffaut. In it, Jones provides an overview for each director's career up until that point: Hitchcock had already made his best films, whereas Truffaut's career was just beginning (although you could argue that he also had made his best films, too). 

To provide further insight, Jones conducted interviews of his own with other directors, mostly American, including Wes Anderson, David Fincher and Martin Scorsese. These men - and they are all men - offer their own opinions about the various Hitchcock films being discussed, providing reasons to explore outside the established canon. Hitchcock's film, The Wrong Man, which was made in the midst of his great period in the late 50s, gets particular attention as an overlooked classic.

That is more or less the raison d'etre for this documentary: to inspire interest in the classics and to remind everyone of why Hitchcock, to say nothing of Truffaut, was such a valuable and revered film-maker. I personally can't resist the temptation of watching some of my favorite directors discussing their own favorite films.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this work is, as a film, it is able to show us actual clips of Hitchcock's work, beyond the screen captures available in the source book. We also get the pleasure of hearing Truffaut and Hitchcock speak to one another (they did not film the interviews, but rather photographed them). Not many people can quite replicate the sound of Hitchcock's voice, despite the recent efforts of Anthony Hopkins and Toby Jones. 

What the film is not is a film class, nor is it a tell-all in which we find out exactly why Hitchcock was so into "icy blondes." Hitchcock/Truffaut is respecting, even reverential, to its subjects. Expect to be walked through some of the best Hollywood cinema from the middle of the century, and you'll leave hungry for more.

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