Endless Creativity or Putting out Fires?

Truffaut’s La Nuit Americaine (1973) points to many of Munsterberg’s examples of what makes films or “photoplays” unique. With its range of camera angles, quick cuts, multiple story lines cutting back and forth, and other devices, La Nuit Americaine shows the technical aspects of what distinguishes film from theatre. The constructed sets, such as Julie and Alphonse’s bedroom window that is raised on scaffolding to appear to be facing his parent’s room, allow Truffaut to overcome the limitations of space. With this liberation, “a freedom [is] gained which gives new wings to the artistic imagination” (Munsterberg, Critical Visions). As argued by Munsterberg, film provides a medium for endless creativity which is demonstrated by the “behind the scenes” look into movie making as seen in La Nuit Americaine. Although Munsterberg touts film as being the best artistic medium of his time, he does not account for the accompanying problems that it demands. Tight budgets and deadlines, emotionally unstable actors, etc. are all inevitable issues that come along with making a motion picture. So, while film provides a medium for endless creativity, it also requires putting out a lot of fires. Watching this film, I cannot help but think the effort it took to get some of my favorite movies to the box office. As said by Truffaut (Director Ferrand) in the film, “Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive”.







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