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French François TRUFFAUT

Influential filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave

Source :  Jean-Daniel BLANC

Born: on February 06, 1932 in Paris, France
Died: on October 21, 1984 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France


His mother was Janine de Monferrand, and he never met his biological father, Roland Lévy, a Jewish dentist. 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.

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.

Truffaut frequented Henri Langlois' Cinémathèque Française where he was exposed to countless foreign films from around the world. It was here that became familiar with American cinema and directors such as John Ford, Howard Hawks, Nicholas Ray as well as those of British director Alfred Hitchcock.

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- Category Actor, Director