Wesley R. Ball’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sorry, Jean-Luc Godard. You've been topped for best movie about movies.
Francois Truffaut's Day for Night is a fantastically dazzling masterpiece of cinema. A glorious celebration and condemnation of the joys and faults of filmmaking. It's also a genius satire, taking all of the troubles and woes of filmmaking and making a somewhat sarcastic remark about them. Truffaut has made a big mark on satirical cinema with this piece, and honestly it's probably far too complex for me to properly dissect at this moment.
Being a film within a film, Day for Night doesn't try to take itself too seriously. It reminds the audience that, while cinema is a glorious form of art in itself, it's still simply fictionalized depictions of true or false events. There's still that screen to separate us from the reality, yet it still remains as a transcendental experience.
Truffaut amasses an impressive star cast for this great undertaking. The likes of Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Leaud, and even Truffaut himself all take part in this joyous symphony of chaos. Familiar faces help make the characters more interesting at times, and seeing the little kid from The 400 Blows all grown up felt somewhat different. Like looking through a lens at the annals of time. Seeing different periods of this child superstar's professional career gives a great insight into why he was such a profoundly moving actor. His acting as an actor in Day for Night felt completely personal to him, I could really tell that from his performance.
Day for Night is an astounding masterpiece of parody and cinema. A great revelation of what Truffaut's genius was really like. It manages to top Contempt as my favorite French film about film, and possibly even conquers 8 1/2 as the greatest of all time. It seems much more in depth than Fellini's masterpiece, and there's a lot more humor to be had here. The funny side of humanist cinema is on full display here, and as such, it becomes Truffaut's personal artistic playground. Equal parts funny and dramatic, Day for Night is a dizzying delve into a delusional world, and a master stroke of satire.