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like trains in the night

Les films sont plus harmonieux que la vie. Il n'y a pas d'embouteillages dans les films, pas de temps mort. Les films avancent comme des trains, tu comprends, comme des trains dans la nuit. Des gens comme toi, comme moi, tu le sais bien, on est fait pour être heureux dans le travail, dans notre travail de cinéma.

Or in English, roughly:

Films have more harmony than life. There are no traffic jams in films, there is no idle time. Films move along like trains, like trains in the night. People like you and me, we are only happy in our work, in cinema.

From cinephile François Truffaut's most cinephilic film, 'La Nuit Américaine' ('Day for Night', 1973), whose title is even a cinematographic reference (to shooting 'day for night', which in French is called 'nuit Américaine').

In this film about filmmaking, which delights in showing us all the tricks and drama of a film production, Truffaut himself plays the director, who here admonishes one of his lead actors to keep believing in the illusion.

Much lighter in tone than his later 'Le Dernier Métro', about the world of theater, Truffaut's ode to cinema is first and foremost about the hectic joy of working on a creative project with a large group of people. After all, if cinema is like a train in the night, a film production is more like a stagecoach ride:

Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. Halfway through, you just hope to survive.

le dernier métro

Some spoilers ahead! One more on the underground theme, François Truffaut 's ' Le Dernier Métro ' (1980) quietly evokes the underground as a place of refuge and relative safety in the fearful arena of occupied Paris … Read the full post »

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