Archive for February 23rd, 2009


by Allan Fish

(France 1959 99m) DVD1/2

Aka. The Four Hundred Blows

I want to live my own life

p  Georges Charlot  d/w  François Truffaut  ph  Henri Decaë  ed  Marie-Joseph Yoyotte  m  Jean Constantin  art  Bernard Evein

Jean-Pierre Léaud (Antoine Doinel), Claire Maurier (Mme.Doinel), Albert Rémy (Mons.Doinel), Guy Decombie (teacher), Patrick Auffay (René Bigey), Georges Flament (Mons.Bigey), Yvonne Claudie (Mme.Bigey), Robert Beauvais (director), Claude Mansard (magistrate), Jacques Monod (commissioner), Jeanne Moreau (woman chasing dog),

Though one gives nods to Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo, if one had to name one iconic face of the nouvelle vague it would be Jean-Pierre Léaud.  His career spanned the movement’s beginning, with this Truffaut masterpiece, and was still around for its death pangs with Eustache’s La Maman et la Putain.  In the interim, his character from Coups, Antoine Doinel, made four other appearances for Truffaut, taking him through to his mid thirties, but though all full of interest, they pale beside Truffaut’s astonishing debut.

            Antoine Doinel is a twelve year old boy who is continually punished for misdeeds at school, often when not his fault.  He has only one real friend, the fellow rebel René, and his parents regard him very much as an irritant.  Briefly his mother takes an interest in him on the proviso that his grades improve, but when his inspiration by Balzac for an essay is taken as plagiarism and he is sent to the director, he runs away.  Finally, he is caught with a stolen typewriter from his father’s place of work and is sent to a correctional institution from which he can only dream of one day escaping. (more…)

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