Mar del Plata Fest Screens Forgotten Short Film by François Truffaut

Courtesy of Cinematheque Francaise
Francois Truffaut

An unknown rarity in the French director's filmography, 'Los 4 golpes' was shot at the 1962 edition of the Argentine festival and was barely seen since then.

French legend François Truffaut's rare short film Los 4 golpes returned home to the Mar del Plata Film Festival in Argentina, where it was originally shot 56 years ago and screened last Wednesday. The pic, a rarity in the director's filmography, was barely seen since it was made during the 1962 edition of the festival and had never been shown in Argentina.  

According to fest programmer Marcelo Alderete, who spent two years trying to get the short film back home from Europe for its first Argentine screening, the "legend" states that in 1962, Truffaut was in Mar del Plata presenting Jules et Jim — which won the best director award — and planning to attend a retrospective of Alfred Hitchcock films organized by the Belgium Cinematek in order to prepare for his interview with the director of Vertigo that would later become the legendary book Hitchcock/Truffaut. 

Truffaut — who had only recently shook European cinema with his groundbreaking The 400 Blows — shot the three-minute short film Los 4 golpes (Spanish for "The 4 Blows") at the lobby of the Hermitage hotel (still a festival venue today) as a thank-you note to the Belgium institution for organizing the retrospective that would facilitate his work.

A silent comedy-thriller shot in 16mm, the short features a young Truffaut and actresses Glora Algorta, Christiane Rochefort and Marie Lafôret. A sort of funny tribute to Hitchcock films, the short features a crime plot with Chaplin-like comedy elements that later becomes a film-within-a-film, with the French filmmaker playing both an assassin and a director who gives instructions on how to shoot the scene of the murder he is committing himself in collusion with two women. 

This year's Mar del Plata Film Festival, which began Nov. 18, concludes Sunday.

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