In search of le secret perdu: how French film director, François Truffaut, was influenced by silent cinema

Bruce, Matthew (2019). In search of le secret perdu: how French film director, François Truffaut, was influenced by silent cinema. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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The focus of my research is the “secret perdu” or “lost secret” of François Truffaut’s cinema, to wit, the means by which Truffaut engaged with silent cinema and how it greatly influenced his oeuvre. This study is important since no other in existence focuses solely on this area of research and it provides an addition to the relatively small canon of academic literature on Truffaut in English. My research methods included: sourcing affirmative writing on Truffaut and silent cinema; isolating key words related to silent cinema, and further investigating their meaning to Truffaut and his work; and finally, watching a diverse range of visual material concerning Truffaut and silent cinema. My findings indicate that the success of Truffaut in his personal quest for “le secret perdu” was predicated on the help of a range of people who shared his passion for the silent era. Finally, it remains to be said that no single definition of le secret perdu exists, or, rather, if it ever did, it has gone to the grave with Truffaut. This leads me to suggest that we should be talking about secret(s) perdu(s) (plural), and that, ultimately, this subject remains open for further exploration.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages


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