When I was a critic, films were often more alive though less ‘intelligent’ and ‘personal’ than today. I put the words in quotes precisely because I hold that there was no lack of intelligent directors at that time, but that they were induced to mask their personalities so as to preserve a universality in their films. Intelligence stayed behind the camera; it didn’t try to be in evidence on the screen. … All that is changed; not only has cinema caught up with life in the past fifteen years, sometimes it seems to have gone beyond it. Films have become more intelligent — or rather, intellectual — than those who look at them. Often we need instructions to tell whether the images on the screen are intended as reality or fantasy, past or future; whether it is a question of real action or imagination.

François Truffaut The Films in My Life


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