The Green Room ★★★★½

Auteurathon: Truffaut 20/24.

What a pathetic, desperate and absolutely wonderful film. Having seen Truffaut's films in chronology up to this point I assume I can view THE GREEN ROOM in a kinder light than viewers to see this as a stand-alone experience. Maybe I would have thought it was just pathetic and desperate, and not wonderful, had I not seen Truffaut's work up to this point and got a better understanding of his humanist and often very primitive ideology. (The year before this he had famously appeared in Spielberg's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, Spielberg of course being another quite primitive thinker, which I think makes perfect sense as Truffaut and Spielberg really have more in common than they have differences).

DAY FOR NIGHT may be technically Truffaut's best and most successful film, but there's something very special about THE GREEN ROOM - and its very telling I can't put my finger on it upon first viewing; its a personal thing, I guess. Its fascinating that Truffaut made this strange, mellow, love/hate-letter to death five years before his own death.

Then there's the simple but often gorgeous cinematography and the dealing with the plot, told in an unusually straightforward way given the director. It creates a provincial setting that is, at least to me, extremely palpable. There's something in that which makes the unimportance and smallness of the characters even clearer, and the sadness of their obsession with dead love - and the psychological web they spin where they fool themselves into thinking they love death and/or "all dead" when its really just one, fetichised dead all along.

Its on the nose. Its in your face. The heart of this film is bleeding so openly you might want to recoil, laugh or try to avoid an opinion but I think THE GREEN ROOM - much like Truffaut himself, it seems - is like that sad stalker who's in love with you and who just wants you to hear him out. And I just don't have the heart to turn away from it.

Problems I've had with Truffaut's previous 2-3 films have been his tendency to include his own, personal rhetoric in his characters, spelling out to us what a film is about in case we're wondering. I've found that tedius, but this time its just so damn personal. I think THE GREEN ROOM is Truffaut's most intimate and personal film; its almost embarrasingly personal. And there's a childish beauty in that, as in all of Truffaut's best films.