Shoot the Piano Player
Shoot the Piano Player, Francois Truffaut's second feature film, is particularly ambitious in its mixture of comic and serious registers, of strictly ordered and loose compositions. These are, of course, related to the double identity of the hero Charlie (Charles Aznavour), a pianist in a bistro, who is trying to forget his past as Edouard, a concert musician. The involved and purposely improbable plot includes a flashback to the suicide of Edouard's wife, a collection of gangsters, a murder, and a shoot-out in the snow. Truffaut's experience as film critic is recalled in manneristic references to the film noir, to Cocteau and Jean Renoir. What distinguishes Shoot the Piano Player is the director's extraordinary playfulness, and his genuine love for the movie conventions he is echoing, a love so richly expressed throughout his career, and specifically in Day for Night.