One of the best films ever made about the process of shooting a film. Director Truffaut plays director Ferrand, who is in the midst of directing "I Want You to Meet Pamela," a feature being shot in the La Victorine studios in the south of France. His cast includes a temperamental actor,
Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Leaud), who wonders aloud, "Are women magic?"; Julie (Jacqueline Bisset), a famous actress recovering from a nervous breakdown; Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Aumont), a veteran actor, "continental lover" and closet homosexual; Severine (Valentina Cortese), a loud, alcoholic Italian
actress who once was a great screen lover opposite Alexandre but who now cannot remember even the simplest dialogue; and Stacey (Alexandra Stewart), a bit player whose pregnancy causes terrible scheduling problems. Given equal time is Ferrand's crew--bumbling prop man Bernard (Bernard Menez);
flaky makeup girl Odile (Nike Arrighi); script girl Lilianna (Dani), who cares nothing for film and gets the job only because she sleeps with Alphonse; unit manager Lajoie (Gaston Joly); producer Bertrand (Jean Champion); and the all-important production assistant, Joelle (Nathalie Baye).
As one might expect, the characters themselves are more important than the thin plot--Ferrand trying to keep his production on track when his emotionally unstable leads, Alphonse and Julie, make the mistake of sleeping together for just one night. Full of in jokes and cross-references, DAY FOR
NIGHT is ample proof that what goes on behind the screen is often of more interest than the film itself. Paradoxically, it is also one of Truffaut's least personal films, as he hides behind his alter ego Ferrand and interacts only on the most superficial levels with his cast and crew. By the
film's end, it is Ferrand whom we know least.
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