Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Les quatre cents coups: The 400 Blows (1959)

This is my first time ever watching a François Truffaut film. I know a little bit about Truffaut. By little, I mean I know some of his tastes in Alfred Hitchcock's films and filming techniques, having read his interviews with Hitchcock in Hitchcock, Truffaut. I highly recommend that book; it was very informative and enjoyable. After watching The 400 Blows, I can't wait to watch my next Truffaut.

The 400 Blows is about a young misunderstood boy, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who is neglected by his inattentive parents. At school, he is constantly picked on and singled out for punishment and criticism by the teacher. Antoine begins to act out against his parents and teacher, skipping school, running away from home, and stealing. He is caught and punished for each of his acts of mischief, even when he tries to put them right. Eventually, these incidents become more consistent, throwing Antoine into a downward spiral until he is caught and ruled as an uncontrollable juvenile delinquent.

This film is very emotional. Truffaut uses camera techniques to capture the emotion spectacularly. I felt myself really connecting with the character. He was treated unfairly and I kept wanting someone to stand up and help him out. He isn't really that bad of a kid, but no one is really there to actually notice this.  Also, the film isn't all tragic or overly depressing. It is quite humorous at parts and the kid has some good times. I highly recommend checking out this film.


Valerie Troutman said...

I have that book, but I still haven't read it yet.

This was one of my first foreign films. Truffaut is still my favorite from the French New Wave. He never seemed to lose the fun in his movies. Even was in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

Kalli said...

I can't believe he died in his early 50s. He had a brain tumor! How awful.

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