In 1962 Alfred Hitchcock had just resurrected his career with Psycho and was about to shoot The Birds. Francois Truffaut, the French film-critic-turned-auteur, had just made Jules and Jim, his third masterpiece in a row, and therefore no slouch either. Over the course of eight days the young upstart interviewed the old master about each of his films, providing detailed analysis, often shot-by-shot. Hitchcock/Truffaut is not just a masterpiece of journalism and the art of the interview it’s also an incredible analysis of the power film holds over us.
When I was a kid, raised in the fear decade known as the ‘90s, the world was a scary, frightening, bewildering place. Then I read Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and it still is. But you know what? It is a hell of a lot easier to swallow the bitter pill of chaos when you can laugh at its absurdity and enjoy it when it is beautiful. Vonnegut’s courage to cope with tragedy and horror through laughter is an essential tool for life, making this an ideal gift for anyone growing or embarking on a new chapter in life.
For most artists the method of creation is a fickle one with many wrong answers and few right ones. Yet for Robert Bresson, the theory was practice and the practice was dogmatic. Bressons’s short lessons learned as a filmmaker could apply to any creative person. By accepting the inherent artifice of your medium and refusing to use it to “recreate reality”, you are then free to explore it how you will. Delivered in short, punchy passages Bresson gives practical advice, abstract thoughts, or amusing anecdotes. Peaking behind the curtain has never been so practical yet informal.