Though (like Chabrol and early Godard) Truffaut flirted with genre, he was essentially (like Rohmer) a humanist. For all his cinephilia and abiding interest – whether playful or allusive – in film form, his movies were primarily about people, particularly their emotional lives and their relationships with one another. Love, loss, loneliness; desire, doubt, disappointment; trust, betrayal, guilt: these preoccupations permeate his work.

A former critic who felt his life had been transformed by the arts, he imbued his films with personal passions. This retrospective divides his work into four (inevitably overlapping) categories. January features the films about the (initially semi-autobiographical) character Antoine Doinel, and those displaying the influence of Truffaut’s beloved Jean Renoir. February will highlight literary adaptations and movies influenced by another hero, Alfred Hitchcock. Such groupings aside, everything here is, finally, un film de François Truffaut.

Season introduction and all copy written by Geoff Andrew, Programmer-at-large, BFI Southbank