Les quatre cents coups / The 400 Blows (1959) François Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy, Guy Decomble, Crime, Drama

The 400 Blows (1959)
Seemingly in constant trouble at school, 14 year-old Antoine Doinel returns at the end of every day to a drab and unhappy home life. His parents have little money and he sleeps on a couch that’s been pushed into the kitchen. He knows his mother is having an affair and his parents bicker constantly. He decides to skip school and begins a downward spiral of lies and later stealing. His parents are at their wits end and after he’s stopped by the police, they decide the best thing to do would be to let Antoine face the consequences. He’s sent to a juvenile detention facility where he doesn’t do much better. He does manage to escape however…

Director: François Truffaut
Writer: François Truffaut (scenario), Marcel Moussy (adaptation), François Truffaut (adaptation), Marcel Moussy (dialogue)
Actors: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy, Guy Decomble

• Audio commentary by cinema professor Brian Stonehill
• Audio commentary by Truffaut’s lifelong friend Robert Lachenay

Stories of childhood have often been tempered with the melancholic yearning of lost innocence (as in Louis Malle’s Au Revoir Les Enfants) or the profound weight of human misery (as in Robert Bresson’s Mouchette). In The 400 Blows, François Truffaut introduces his alterego, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud), a young man attempting to break from the confines of his unremarkable life through escapism and mischief. Antoine’s vacuous, neglected life unfolds before us with dispassionate objectivity: a misunderstood, underachieving student invariably caught red-handed with the pinup centerfold or scribbling on the classroom wall; a selfish, adulterous mother attempting to reach her son through bribery; a crude, distant father flaunting his generosity in giving the illegitimate son a name. But the pensive Antoine is hardly the incorrigible delinquent that everyone has destined for him, and his fascination for cinema and literature provide a fleeting distraction from his ennui. Attempting to conceal a failing grade on a Blazac-inspired essay (which the teacher is convinced he has plagiarized), he runs away from home, an act which exacerbates to theft, and inevitably, sends him to a camp for juvenile delinquents.

Truffaut’s assured camerawork never wavers in this highly influential and relevant film of adolescence. Successive, montage shots of children watching a puppet show emphasize their innocence, and sharply contrast with the disillusioned Antoine in jail, seemingly detaching himself from his inextricable situation by pulling his turtleneck over his nose. Fluid camera tracking pervade the film’s exterior shots, reflecting the humor and vitality of youth. Note the lightly paced, overhead shot of the outdoor exercise scene, as the boys slowly splinter off in different directions until no one is left. In contrast, Antoine’s flight from the reform school is slow and labored, reaching an uncertain conclusion. Ending with the infamous stop motion zoom of Antoine at the shoreline, he is at a proverbial crossroads: unable to keep running away, looking back at a familiar, hopeless fate.

The 400 Blows (1959) 1


BRRip | MKV | 1024 x 436 | AVC @ 2200 Kbps | 100 min | 2.08 Gb
Audio: French, English AC3 1.0 @ 256 Kbps (3 Channels) + Commentary | Subs: English (embedded)
Genre: Crime, Drama | France


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