Adapted from two Henry James short stories, The Green Room stars Truffaut himself as an ageing provincial journalist on a failing periodical, solitary despite his housekeeper and (inexplicably) deaf-mute child, as he looks back from the late 1920s at the two traumas that have shaped his life - the massacre of World War I in which he lost most of his friends and acquaintances, and the death of his beloved wife. A story full of Gothic promise. The similar binding of personal and historical events, of obsessively remembered love and morbid longing for death, were elements that pulsed vitally - if sentimentally - in the earlier Jules et Jim. And the failure of Chambre Verte is technically all too simple. Truffaut's lack of range as an actor is not helped by the script's purple prose. But one suspects the real problems to be much larger: the human face in this film has become clouded and curiously vague - neither direct enough to stand for itself (as it did in the earlier films), nor sufficiently eloquent to carry as much metaphysical baggage as the script implies. Truffaut has made more than his share of maverick and self-critical films; his later retreat into period pieces and production values becomes all the more regrettable.
Cast and crew
François Truffaut, Jean Gruault