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Day for Night
The Criterion Collection
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 



Not Rated

Running Time: 116 Minutes

Starring: Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Valentina Cortese, Jean Champion Dani, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Alexandra Stewart, François Truffaut, Nike Arrighi

Screenplay by: François Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard, Suzanne Schiffman

Directed by: François Truffaut

 


Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $39.95

Features: Dreams of Cinema, Dudley Andrew Interview, Day for Night: An Appreciation, Truffaut: A View from the Inside, Interviews, Truffaut Shoots Day for Night, On Day for Night, Traffaut at the National Society of Film Critics, Trailer

Specs: 1.66:1 Widescreen Screen 1080p High Definition, French Uncompressed Mono, English Subtitles, Chapters (32 Chapters)

Released: August 18th, 2015







Day for Night is presented in 1080p High Definition, with the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Criterion has restored the film with a new 2K digital transfer, that was supervised by director of photography Pierre-William Glenn. This classic, now over 40 years old, looks particularly gorgeous. The movie looks exceptionally clean, and the appearance of film grain adds to the transfer's organic film-like appearance. Fleshtones are accurate, detail is solid and black levels are deep. Color saturation also impresses, as hues and tones are vivid and bold without being overwhelming — exteriors and costumes stand out in particular. As close to perfect as this film is going to look at this point, I am sure — I am thrilled Criterion has done such an exceptional job here. 




Day for Night features an uncompressed French Mono track.  It is quite nice: it is crisp, clear and does not feature any audio defects or distortions. Dialogue is always easy to hear, the sound effects come in well and George Delerue's phenomenal score sounds nice as well. Fitting and pleasant, overall. 

English subtitles are included.


 


There's a fine array of extras to enjoy. First up is the 11 and a half minute Dreams of Cinema, a visual essay by filmmaker ::kogonada. It's a nice tribute to Truffaut, featuring clips of film, his work and quotes.

An Interview with Dudley Andrew, a film professor, is also included. Andrew focuses on the fracturing state of the French New Wave, namely after Jean-Luc Godard saw (and walked out of) Day for Night and started corresponding with Truffaut. Andrew speaks with intelligence and clarity about the relationship between the two legendary filmmakers. Andrew gives a background on the French New Wave as well, with stills and clips to highlight what he is speaking about. A must watch for those who have any interest in film history. It runs 20 and-a-half minutes.

The 17 minute Day for Night: An Appreciation is a short documentary narrated by film scholar Annette Insdorf (and which I believe was on the original 2003 Warner Bros. 2003 DVD release). Insdorf speaks with passion about the filmmaker and the film, where she gives the movie context and offers some interesting stories. Very nicely done.

Truffaut: A View from the Inside is a 6 and-a-half minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie (call it an early version of a featurette). It's a neat watch from the past. There are also Interviews, most from 2003: François Truffaut (two of them), cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn (conducted in 2015), Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Piette Aumont, Nathalie Baye, Bernard Menez, Dani, Yann Dedet and assistant editor Martine Barraqué (conducted in 2015).

There are also three pieces in the Archival Footage section: Truffaut Shoots Day for Night (2:48), which is mostly newsreel footage; On Day for Night (11:08), a June 1973 episode of French movie program Pour le cinéma; and Truffaut at the National Society of Film Critics (2:01), which is also newsreel footage of Truffaut being awarded Best Director.

The film's Trailer is included, as well as an essay from critic David Cairns.



Day for Night
is one of François Truffaut's most beloved films, and it is one of the most beloved movies about making movies as well. Criterion has done a phenomenal job in releasing this foreign classic: the movie's new transfer is exceptional, the mono track does its job well and there is a trove of tributes and interviews that offer a lot about the movie and the talent involved with it. An exemplary Criterion release, and a must have for any film fan.