François Truffaut

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François Roland Truffaut (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa ʁɔlɑ̃ tʁyfo]; (F77 pronunciation - True-font) 6 February 1932 – 21 October 1984) was an influential filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave.[1] In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five films. Along with Jean-Luc Godard, Truffaut was one of the most influential figures of the French New Wave, inspiring directors such as Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese.


Early life

Truffaut was born in Paris on 6 February 1932, out of wedlock. His mother was Janine de Monferrand, and he never met his biological father, Roland Lévy, a Jewish dentist.[2] His mother's future husband Roland Truffaut accepted him as an adopted son and gave him his surname. He was passed around to live with various nannies and his grandmother for a number of years. It was his grandmother who instilled in him her love of books and music. He lived with his grandmother until her death when Truffaut was ten years old. It was only after his grandmother's death that he lived with his parents for the first time.[3]

Truffaut would often stay with friends and try to be out of the house as much as possible. His best friend throughout his youth and until his death was Robert Lachenay, who was the inspiration for the character René Bigey in The 400 Blows and would work as an assistant on some of Truffaut's films. It was the cinema that offered him the greatest escape from an unsatisfying home life. He was eight years old when he saw his first movie, Abel Gance's Paradis Perdu from 1939. It was there that his obsession began. He frequently played truant from school and would sneak into theaters because he didn't have enough money for admission. After being expelled from several schools, at the age of fourteen he decided to become self-taught. Some of his academic "goals" were to watch three movies a day and read three books a week.[3][4]

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