THE GREEN ROOM (La Chambre verte, 1978, François Truffaut)
One of Truffaut’s most personal and beautiful films, photographed by Néstor Almendros, and one of the least known of his major works—audiences in 1978 weren’t ready for this stark rumination on death from a filmmaker known for his gentle humor and enchanting personability. Not far removed from his own premature end, Truffaut himself stars alongside Nathalie Baye in this adaptation of Henry James’s short story “The Altar of the Dead,” about a newspaper obituary writer who has become obsessed with the memory of friends departed from this mortal coil—represented here by images of the director’s own deceased loved ones. A man tries to account for each dead intimate in his life, but can only adequately acknowledge their importance by building towards the one death that will make sense of it all: his own. Darkly life-affirming.