François Truffaut and Friends: Modernism, Sexuality, and Film Adaptation

François Truffaut and Friends: Modernism, Sexuality, and Film Adaptation

by Robert Stam
     
 

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One of François Truffaut's most poignantly memorable films, Jules and Jim, adapted a novel by the French writer and art collector Henri-Pierre Roch. The characters and events of the 1960s film were based on a real-life romantic triangle, begun in the summer of 1920, which involved Roch himself, the German-Jewish writer Franz Hessel, and his wife, the

Overview


One of François Truffaut's most poignantly memorable films, Jules and Jim, adapted a novel by the French writer and art collector Henri-Pierre Roch. The characters and events of the 1960s film were based on a real-life romantic triangle, begun in the summer of 1920, which involved Roch himself, the German-Jewish writer Franz Hessel, and his wife, the journalist Helen Grund.

Drawing on this film and others by Truffaut, Robert Stam provides the first in-depth examination of the multifaceted relationship between Truffaut and Roch. In the process, he provides a unique lens through which to understand how adaptation works-from history to novel, and ultimately to film-and how each form of expression is inflected by the period in which it is created. Truffaut's adaptation of Roch's work, Stam suggests, demonstrates how reworkings can be much more than simply copies of their originals; rather, they can become an immensely creative enterprise-a form of writing in itself.

The book also moves beyond Truffaut's film and the mnage--trois involving Roch, Hessel, and Grund to explore the intertwined lives and work of other famous artists and intellectuals, including Marcel Duchamp, Walter Benjamin, and Charlotte Wolff. Tracing the tangled webs that linked these individuals' lives, Stam opens the door to an erotic/writerly territory where the complex interplay of various artistic sensibilities-all mulling over the same nucleus of feelings and events-vividly comes alive.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In his latest monograph, Stam (cinema studies, NYU; Literature Through Film) focuses on the complex, multifaceted relationship between filmmaker Fran ois Truffaut and French writer Henri-Pierre Roche's novelization of his sexual m nage- -trois with another writer and that man's wife. Truffaut, of course, adapted the story of the threesome in his seminal Jules and Jim. Drawing on that film and others by Truffaut, as well as on the writings of theorists like Walter Benjamin, Stam examines not only the interweaving relationships between friends and lovers but also the larger question of sexual modernism in the 20th century. Straightforward biography is eschewed for "the biographical overtones and historical reverberations of texts." Anyone interested in the intimate personal details of mid-century European intelligentsia, the interplay of written word and electronic media, or the development of Truffaut's technique will find something of value in this well-written and -researched study. Serious students will also want to read Ian MacKillop's Free Spirits: Henri-Pierre Roche, Fran ois Truffaut, and the Two English Girls. Recommended for comprehensive academic film studies collections.-Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
professor of comparative literature and film studies, Yale University - Dudley Andrew
"Supple and sophisticated, François Truffaut and Friends tells an affecting story-several stories-and does so with verve."
author of More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts - James Naremore
"An original and fascinating study that spins out from Truffaut's Jules and Jim to explore the world of literature, film, and avant-garde sexuality to which it is related. Stam has many interesting things to say about the theory of adaptation, the sexual politics of modernist bohemia, and the lives of individual artists."
author of Francois Truffaut - Annette Insdorf
"Robert Stam has written a fascinating study of transposition, illuminating aspects of biography, literature and cinema. It won't be possible to watch Jules and Jim again without thinking of the complex layers of lived and imagined life that feed into Truffaut's classic film."
author of Perverse Desire and the Ambiguous Icon - Allen S. Weiss
"We discover-in Robert Stam's sexy, startling, and infinitely entangled plot-that hyperbolic infidelity may indeed inspire felicitous creativity, which makes this book essential reading not only for all those impassioned by modernist autobiography and New Wave cinema, but even more important in our times, for those who wish to celebrate the joyful wisdom of erotic values."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813540993
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
02/15/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
262
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author


Robert Stam is University Professor at New York University, where he teaches a course on the French New Wave. He has published widely on French and comparative literature, film, and theory.

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