This is a capsule review. A full review will be posted closer to release.
Coming soon to college curriculums everywhere, Kent Jones’s new film, Hitchcock/Truffaut, looks to turn the uber-text on Alfred Hitchcock into an equally loving cinematic tribute. Though it starts as a chronicle of Francois Truffaut’s interview series with Hitchcock that became the film text of the same name, Hitchcock/Truffaut is more generally a reverent and insightful look at the techniques, obsessions, and charisma of a man that wowed audiences and inspired imitators for decades.
The methodical pacing of the doc is where Jones gets to demonstrate what he himself picked up from Hitch. Even at only 80 minutes, Hitchcock/Truffaut covers a wide range of subjects, starting with the accessible details about Hitchcock’s background and work philosophy, before digging into a more specialized course laid out for cinephiles. The documentary transitions smoothly between sections covering things like the spatial context of Birds, Hitchcock’s frequent use of high-angle shots, and extended analyses of both Vertigo and Psycho. The talking heads Jones has recruited are a venerated lot, with standout commentary coming from the likes of David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, James Gray, and many others.
Though Hitchcock/Truffaut reviews Hitchcock’s work, not his life, reducing the contribution of wife Alma Reville to a footnote seems an oversight, and the selection of interviewees further cements a “cinema du dudebro” undercurrent to the scope of the film’s appreciation. Truffaut, who set up the original interviews through what was essentially fan mail, seems a secondary interest to Jones at first, but disappears almost completely by the midpoint. Based on Jones’ research, Truffaut would be the first to agree with such a decision, as would all the other testifying directors. As an excuse to yield the silver screen to the master one last time, Hitchcock/Truffaut makes for a pretty good one.
Hitchcock/Truffaut is a snappy and informative love letter written by many different filmmakers to one great one.