2014 marks the thirty year anniversary of the death of Francois Truffaut. It serves as a sombre reminder of the fact that the French filmmaker was taken all too prematurely.
We’ll be reflecting thoroughly on the work of Truffaut later in the year, but things are starting to click in to place with the major distributors, who are outlining how they plan on celebrating the life of one of the greatest figures of the cinema.
Artificial Eye are the first to make their plans known. From the looks of things they have acquired a whole slew of titles previously released in the UK by 2Entertain, a pretty anonymous label who never really treated the films with any real kind of attention. Confidentially Yours is the only title missing from the Artificial Eye line-up.
Beginning in July Artificial Eye plan to release no less than 10 Truffaut movies on Blu-ray. Naturally things begin with The 400 Blows, which is accompanied by Jules et Jim that month. Both have been released by Criterion in the US in very impressive editions, but a UK release is more than welcome. August brings with it two waves of discs. At the beginning of the month The Soft Skin and Shoot The Piano Player receive high-definition releases for the first time anywhere in English-speaking markets, while Stolen Kisses and Bed & Board, the third and fourth episodes in the Antoine Doinel Cycle are released on August 28th. Things are rounded off in September, with a further four titles – Love On The Run, A Gorgeous Girl Like Me, Anne & Muriel and The Last Metro. The latter aside, none of the September titles have previously been released in English-friendly Blu-ray editions. It’s an incredible line-up.
And there’s perhaps even more to come. A whole range of films financed by MGM remain unaccounted for, while Day For Night, a film not even granted a UK DVD release remains one of the most peculiar omissions in contemporary British film culture, especially when one notes that it won the BAFTA for best film (note, best Best Film, not just the foreign film prize – though it did win that too), and saw Truffaut nominated for Best Director at the Oscars that year. As uncouth or as macabre as it may seem, a landmark anniversary such as this might be all the excuse some distributors need to offer up the opportunity for the revisiting of some of these incredible films.
Stop The Presses: Artificial Eye tonight announced that they plan to bring 2 further Truffaut titles, Finally Sunday and The Woman Next Door to disc in October. Incredible.