François TruffautFrance81 minutes1960B&WFrench
One of Truffaut's most important and impressive works, Shoot the Piano Player focuses on a former concert pianist (Charles Aznavour) who, recovering from his wife's suicide, takes refuge from his life in a Paris café-bar, where he finds himself embroiled in kidnapping and murder. High on the possibilities of cinema, Truffaut mixes moods and genres (comedy, tragedy, thriller), promiscuously swipes devices (comic strips, split screen, voiceovers), and steals from here, there and everywhere — from Hollywood B-pictures, the films of Sam Fuller and Nicholas Ray, the hard-boiled thrillers of Jean-Pierre Melville, Citizen Kane, and (sans doute) Hitchcock — and forges it all into a strange and singular vision of the absurdity of life. "Brilliant and original ... The movie busts out all over — and that's what's wonderful about it" (Pauline Kael).