Day For Night is Francois Truffaut's touching and sweet love letter to the creation of movie making and is one of the most magical experiences of watching a movie about a movie being made. The film chronicles the ups and downs on a film production titled Meet Pamela, which takes place at the Victorine Studio in Nice in the south of France, which has produced movies since the silent era. Meet Pamela is a cliché melodrama that stars Alexandre, (Jean-Pierre Aumont) one of the last remaining romantic screen icons, Severine, a struggling alcoholic and former diva Severine (Valentina Cortese), Alphonse, (Jean- Pierre Laaud) a high emotional young heart-throb, and Julie Baker, (Jacqueline Bisset) a beautiful rising british actress. During the film, the audience is taken behind the cameras along with the ambitious director Ferrand (played by Francois Truffaut himself), as we watch the cast and crew tackle daily every day exhaustion's of making a large expensive studio picture. Behind the scenes, personal privacy is rare as the cast and crew become highly exhausted and emotionally desperate as the audience witnesses secret love affairs, marriages being threatened and later repaired, and emotional breakdowns and locking oneself in their dressing room; all the while the director of the picture is suffering many sleepless nights on the current stresses and responsibilities on making such an ambitious picture.
Day for Night is also very educational on the secrets of the movie industry as we come to learn not only the daily process on how a movie is being made, but how certain shots are created. Like for instance, the creation of certain weather effects on snow and rain, how they can construct a three-story building with a balcony that has technically no building underneath, the classic 'day for night' effect which is a nighttime effect shot during the day created by the use of a particular filter, and when an animal actor refuses to act on cue. And yet Day for Night is more about the forced community that forms every time a movie shoots, and later breaks up when the filming wraps, because between remembering their lines, waking up early for morning roll call, and getting prepped for the daily shooting schedule, every character working in the world of the movie industry has basic primitive needs that only others in that industry can understand and satisfy. It is pretty obvious that the film that is being made (Meet Pamela) is probably going to be a lousy picture, and yet Ferrand the movie director doesn't seem to care about the quality of the picture he is making (unlike Truffaut), and is just in love with the process of making a movie.