Saturday, May 21, 2011

Truffaut Letters - IV

 The following is an excerpt from a response dispatched by Truffaut to a journalist, it contains his views on the topic of shooting 'on-location'.

"I do not share your opinion that shooting in real decors has become routine, but there has certainly been – again since the use of colour became standard practice – an insufficient control over the filmed image on the part of many directors. For example, when I see a street scene in a comedy, and half of the street is in shadow and the other half in sunlight, it seems to me that the comic force of the shot has been reduced by half.

There are many directors and cinematographers who think the way to make a beautiful composition of some natural vista is to have a green meadow fill two-thirds of the image and blue sky fill the other third, whereas when it is projected, the sun is no longer the sun but simply a whitish or yellowish expanse through which can be seen the seams of the cinema screen, which is rarely as clean as it ought to be. In that particular case, instead of filmking the sky, one has actually managed to diminish the dramatic value of an image by a mutilation of space.

It is my opinion, in any event, that it is not in a film’s interest to be shot a hundred per cent on location, since there should always be an element of artifice. In the case of A bout de souffle which is probably the masterpiece of films shot entirely in real interiors and locations, its artistic homogeneity was guaranteed by the fact that the film was entirely post-synchronised and that particularity of sound created its style"

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