Motion-Picture Director. He was a leader of the "New Wave," a group of young filmakers who helped revitalize French Cinema in the 1960s. The humanistic concerns and technical polish of his films reveal the influence of his two great idols, directors Jean Renoir and Alfred Hitchcock. Truffaut burst upon the international scene with "The 400 Blows" (1959), an evocative study of a misunderstood, almost delinquent youth. Its hero, the 12 year-old Antoine Doinel (played by Jean-Pierre Leaud) was modeled on the director's own unhappy boyhood. Truffaut and Leaud continued Doinel's story into adult life with "Stolen Kisses" (1968), "Bed and Board" (1971), and "Love on the Run" (1979). "Shoot the Piano Player" (1960), Truffaut's second film, was a playful homage to American gangster pictures. This was followed by his biggest hit, "Jules and Jim" (1961), a lyrical love triangle spanning two decades before and after World War I. "Day for Night" (1973), a tragicomic behind-the-scenes look at moviemaking, won an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film. Truffaut's other credits include his only film in English, "Farenheit 451" (1966); two Hitchcockian thrillers, "The Bride Wore Black" (1967) and "Mississippi Mermaid" (1969); "The Wild Child" (1970); "Two English Girls" (1971); "The Story of Adele H." (1975); "Small Change" (1976); "The Man Who Loved Women" (1978); "The Last Metro" (1980); and "Confidentially Yours" (1982). Truffaut wrote or cowrote all his scripts, and he also worked as an actor, notably as the French scientist in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977). His book-length interview with Alfred Hitchcock (published in 1968) has been translated into many languages. Truffaut was born in Paris. He spent part of his rebellious youth in a juvenile detention center, and was later imprisoned and dishonorably discharged by the French Army for desertion. During the 1950s Truffaut was a noted critic for the journal "Cahiers du Cinema," in which he attacked old school French Cinema and praised American B movies. He was also among the first to advance the influential "auteur theory", which credited the director with primary creative importance in the moviemaking process. He died of a brain tumor at 52.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards