Shoot the Piano Player

(Tirez sur le pianiste)


Charles Aznavour, Marie Dubois, Michèle Mercier, Nicole Berger,

Sad-eyed and slouched, Charles Aznavour plays Charlie, a honky-tonk tinkler working a low-rent dive in Paris. Broken by an earlier tragedy, he spends his time hunched over the soothing keys, coaxing tasteless tunes for the wine-soused revelers. That is until he’s roused from retreat by a B-movie plot fraught with bickering thugs, a punch-drunk bouncer, a big-hearted bar girl, and a past too painful to endure. Truffaut’s gleeful and ironic thriller is an homage to the American gangster film. Girded by Raoul Coutard’s forceful photography and Georges Delerue’s intentionally jovial score, this delirious neo-noir delivers enough body blows to the genre to make it say whatever Truffaut wants.

Steve Seid
  • François Truffaut
  • Marcel Moussy
Based On
  • The novel Down There by David Goodis

  • Raoul Coutard
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 'Scope 35mm
  • 81 mins
  • Janus Films/Criterion Collection