Finally, Sunday! [Vivement dimanche!] [Confidentailly Yours]

François Truffaut
Release Year:
Length (mins):
Fanny Ardant, Jean-Louis Trintignant
Screening Date:
  • 2 Apr 2024
  • Categories:
    Comedy, Crime, Mystery

    Truffaut's last film is a Hitchcockian mystery with comedic touches. Fanny Ardant plays an amateur sleuth whose boss (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is accused of murdering his wife.

    What's this?
    F-Rated Bronze

    Film Notes

    If, as François Truffaut said, quoting Renoir back in 1958, “The film director’s task consists of getting pretty women to do pretty things,’” then never did he apply himself more faithfully than in Confidentially Yours specifically for Fanny Ardant, not only to showcase her considerable beauty but to allow her to demonstrate her talent for comedy after the intensity of The Woman Next Door. Truffaut always enjoys showing active, dominant women in contrast to the vulnerable, fragile male and Ardant’s role parallels that of Catherine Deneuve in The Last Metro. Ardant plays a secretary in love with her boss, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and the role is enhanced to allow her, and not her boss, to conduct the investigation while he lies hiding in the cellar, consoling himself à la Bertrand Morane with staring at the legs of the women who walk past his basement window. The film also marks Truffaut’s return to his beloved black and white, which certainly serves to heighten the beauty of Ardant, and is also in keeping with the noir genre.

    Indeed, there are few tasks harder for a French director than to produce a convincing French version of an American thriller. The American serie noire has its own specific conventions that transfer badly or not at all to the French context. Confidentially Yours solves the problem of the transposition to a French setting by creating a cinematic universe from which almost all allusions to an external geographical reality are rigorously excluded. There is no sense of place: anonymous locations—nightclubs, hotel lobbies, a cinema foyer—could be anywhere on the French Riviera but by shooting largely at night—or at least “day for night”—and in pouring rain, the sense of anonymity is enhanced. So we may be in the world of the American-style thriller but it is a world from which everything specifically American has been eliminated.

    In any event, the setting is of no importance. Its artificiality at times borders on the abstract. Nor is the unraveling of the plot, the police investigation, of any interest to Truffaut. What does excite him is the creation of a world of marvelous comic invention and artifice out of nothing. His pleasure lies in Hitchcock-style manipulation, pulling the strings of his creations for the sheer pleasure of propelling them into each other’s arms. His achievement is simultaneously getting us to stand outside the crime thriller convention and to share his pleasure as he mocks it with a nudge and a wink. Truffaut repeats this gesture in the succession of homages to the crime thriller in general, the 1940s gangster film, the American comedy, and a series of quotations from Renoir, Hitchcock, Resnais, and Truffaut himself. Cinephiles have fun but so too do the uninitiated, unaware of most of the allusions, but accepting them as original gags integrated into the fabric of the film.

    Truffaut speaks elsewhere of the way little-known writers of crime fiction often reveal themselves in intimate detail through their writing, secure in the illusion that they remain anonymous behind the corpses and shootings with which their plots are littered. Likewise Truffaut, thinly concealed behind the tortuous plot of Confidentially Yours, reveals his own tenderness, his relish for the intimate details of human behavior, his pleasure in setting his characters one against the other and also in bringing them together again, and his delicacy and delight in filming the vulnerability and also the beauty of women. No longer does he need to appear in his films in the g se of Jean-Pierre Léaud. He is present throughout  Confidentially Yours and his presence, his sense of freedom, his complicity with the audience, and his joie de vivre pervade the film.

    Finally Sunday!, the British title of Confidentially Yours, is a grimly appropriate title for Truffaut’s last film since it was on a Sunday—October 21, 1984—that he died. In his films, however, Truffaut deliberately underplays the drama and the solemnity of death. He confronted his own death in a similar fashion, mocking the idea of his indispensability or that of any man. But he leaves an enormous gap, one that is difficult to fill or conceal. Truffaut lives in the memories of those who knew him, and more permanently perhaps, through his films. With his death an arbitrary finality is imposed on his work, arbitrary but indisputable. For François Truffaut, the battle between the provisional and the definitive is finally over, and all is now definitive.

    Don Allen, The Criterion Collection. SEP 13, 1993

    What you thought about Finally, Sunday! [Vivement dimanche!] [Confidentailly Yours]

    Film Responses

    Excellent Good Average Poor Very Poor
    8 (16%) 29 (57%) 13 (25%) 1 (2%) 0 (0%)
    Total Number of Responses: 51
    Film Score (0-5): 3.86

    Collated Response Comments

    113 members and guests attended this screening of Finally Sunday. We received 51 responses delivering a film score of 3.86. That’s a strike rate of 45%.

    All of your collected comments are shown below.

    “Entertaining but I found the endless plot twists exhausting. Fanny Ardent rises above all the nonsense”

    “I was awaiting this showing with some trepidation as I saw it on release and thought it disappointing. However low expectation turns out to be the mother of quiet amusement. The plot is labyrinthine nonsense worthy of Chandler at his wooliest, not Hitchcockian in the slightest, though there is much in the cinematography of the master, indeed the film is best viewed as an affectionate tribute to film noir of the forties and fifties in general. The women are wise and tough, the men generally useless (Barbie would approve) and Fanny Ardant bestrides the sets on her improbable legs to excellent effect. There is much gentle humour and the whole is mildly entertaining if overlong, complex and repetitive. It is hardly a fitting finale to Truffaut's sparkling career but a more pleasing amuse bouche than I remembered”.

    “Confusing plot, not enjoyable”.

    “A murder mystery caper that, with significant editing, could have been a much better film. Certainly not Truffaut's finest work, but a glorious celebration of Fanny Ardant and the Hitchcockian genre”.

    “Fairly entertaining murder-mystery caper, but with an awfully saccharine ending and very questionable attitudes to women... how many times did Fanny Ardant get slapped?! It might have been a homage to Hitchcock but wasn't a patch on his best films”.

    “Have admired Truffaut as a film maker, so was pleased that GFS showed this. But even though it was his own homage to some of his other works, and to Hitchcock, it just didn't work. Not a wonderful final piece from a legendary director. Felt as if he was almost playing with the film, recalling some that sparked his own imagination. The plot felt almost silly at times, with clues coming up at the right time, countless double crosses as well as a possible large cast of villains. The style includes dissolves, jump-cuts and transition wipes, which adds to the whimsy. Screenplay seems like a whodunit in some respects but it's more about two people who don't like each other made to work together. So Barbara drives the story to find the truth, Julien flawed character, despising his wife yet he's no killer, despite him appearing guilty, as the dead man was having an affair with Julien's wife. Some surprises happen; for example, the shot of Barbara going through a door with her being slapped; then the violence of Vercel's dead wife laying on the floor, a bloody forehead that does disturb her platinum hairdo. So not a typical film noir woman. An almost perfect murder, the nervy string score, some sexual hints unlikely from the '50s yet acceptable in the '80s. Did enjoy the black and white print though, and several deliberately framed shots to draw us in. Trintignant and Ardant are good actors but this didn't enhance that. Maybe a misplaced spoof? Who knows?”

    “Quirky and sometimes not sure what was going on but overall an enjoyable cinematic experience. The atmospheric black and white filming made it seem a lot older than a 1983 film. Thought Fanny Ardant was excellent. Shame the killers phone confession was so rapid as I didn't fully get the reasons for each murder. Another interesting choice. Thanks”.

    “Having enjoyed many of Truffaut's films I was really looking forward to a film of emotional subtlety, beautiful shots, great performances.

    What I got was a B movie! Fanny Ardent is lovely to look at and can act! However, this clunky vehicle with its unrealistic plot did not enable us to see her excel. I felt the film did not know what it was supposed to be: thriller, comedy, homage to in ended up a 2nd rate movie. There were good individual moments, scenes & shots bit it did not come together as a cohesive film”.

    “Most enjoyable. Loved the relationship between Barbara and Vercel”.

    “Very enjoyable. overstated but with such humour”.

    “Very enjoyable and extremely funny”.

    “Well constructed story. Gently amusing without being overstated. Just right for a film society”.

    “Funny, clever and original”.

    “Very good film. Truffaut excels”.

    “Wonderfully inventive. Certainly, one of his best!!”

    “Good paced amusing whodunnit”.

    “Very enjoyable. Touches of comedy made it more interesting and clever use of music too”.

    “Good entertainment. Fanny Ardent excellent”.

    “A rather impenetrable film”.

    “More Agatha Christie than Hitchcock”.

    “Fun Film, reminded me of the Pink Panther films and Inspector Clouseau”.

    “Well however much of a master film maker he may have been, this struck me as a very average film”.

    “Entertaining and good to see the two leads enjoying themselves. But a slight film to mark his final work. Hope the Committee gives us one of his best next season”.

    “Excellent actors and actresses. Complicated story – but a happy ending”.

    “Funny and entertaining”.

    “Told a good story with much humour at the end”.

    “Gosh! Well, it kept me guessing. Full of quirky incidents. Burst tap?! Even the choir kicking the lens cap around at the end!”

    “Too long”.

    “The dead wife following the camera with her eyes was one of the funniest things I’ve seen for a while”.

    “A bit confused at the beginning as to who shot Massoulier”.

    “Intriguing, engaging and funny!”

    “Very entertaining and very French”.

    “A lovely quirky film – very enjoyable”.

    “Amusing/funny murder!”

    “Got better by the minute. Typically French”.

    “A pastiche ‘film noir’ which was a good thing, but didn’t quite hit the mark. Entertaining enough”.

    “Amusing and interesting in places. But ultimately disappointing. ‘Retro’.”







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