Based on two short stories by Henry James, The Green Room has a few Gothic overtones that are quickly supplanted by director François Truffaut's occasional predilection toward personal scrutiny as a filmmaker. Truffaut himself (as he did in The Wild Child) stars in the central role of a 1920s provincial journalist whose virtual solitude as a widower and father of a deaf-mute child exacerbates his unrelieved grief over the death of his wife and the loss of many friends during World War I. His reinvention of a dilapidated chapel into something more than a memorial for the dead--a container, rather, of his own manifest memories of their vital, abbreviated lives--becomes an obsession that takes its physical and spiritual toll. It is also, in Truffaut's often self-reflective way, a metaphor for the act of making movies: haunted places of people, memories, and ideas that exist forever as light and shadow on screen. One of the most curious of Truffaut's films, this 1978 feature doesn't entirely work in part because the demands on Truffaut as an actor exceed his abilities, and in part because it is an opaque mix of his running self-critique and the more accessible emotions of his earlier memory films such as Jules and Jim and Two English Girls. --Tom Keogh
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