“Lost in the night, you can’t stop the shadows from moving in.”
Response to Peary’s Review:
While I’m not sure I would agree with Peary that NO other film does any of these things better (!), his overall sentiment is well-taken — and it’s true that this remains one of Truffaut’s most cinematically innovative and provocative films. In his insightful analysis of the film’s thematic arc, Peary notes:
Adding to the film’s enduring enjoyment is Aznavour’s “oddly moving performance” in the title role; an enormously popular French singer in real life, here he plays a “meek pianist who works in a bar”, a former “successful concert pianist” who has “withdrawn into anonymity” after the suicide of his wife (Nicole Berger). While nursing his considerable emotional wounds, he’s faced with life-threatening trouble on the homefront, given that “gangsters [are] trying to get revenge on [his] two adult brothers for double-crossing them after a robbery”. He gains temporary comfort from a friendly neighborhood hooker (Michele Mercier), and attempts a tentative romance with barmaid Marie Dubois (lovely in her first credited film debut) — but it’s clear that more trouble than joy is in store for our “timid” protagonist, whose desire for a life of simple contentment continues to elude him.
Note: Peary gives away major spoilers in his review, so be forewarned.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)