The 400 Blows 1959
Les quatre cents coups (original title)
18 | 1h 39min | Crime, Drama | 4 May 1959 (France)
13-year-old Antoine Doinel is unfairly punished in school by his teacher in French literature. Next morning his friend René suggests that they shall play truant. Instead of going to school, they go to the cinema, play pinball and visit a huge amusement rotor. The following day Antoine tells his teacher that his absence was due to his mother’s death. Unfortunately his parents turn up at school. Antoine loves his mother, but she dislikes Antoine, because he is the result of an episodic intercourse in her youth, before she met Antoine’s stepfather. When things get worse, both in school and at home, Antoine runs away. René lives in a huge apartment with his rich parents, who won’t notice if Antoine sleeps in René’s room. To get some money Antoine steals a typewriter from his father’s office. The machine is unsellable, so he brings it back to the office, where he is caught by an office janitor. Antoine’s stepfather brings him to the police, who imprison him for vagrancy and theft. A juvenile court judge sends him to an observation centre in the countryside, from where he runs away, and doesn’t stop until he reaches the sea.
This film is one of the greatest I have ever seen. It depicts some events in the life of Antoine Doinel, a young French boy who gets into a lot of trouble no matter what he does. This was the first film by Francois Truffaut, and I believe that it is filmed with such an innocence that you can really feel some of the emotions that Antoine feels. I love the simple style of this film, and I think it adds to its charm. The story is can even be painful to watch as one sees all of the things that happen to Antoine. I think that the reason for the strong emotions embedded in this film is that it is semi-autobiographical. I think the cinema is what rescued Truffaut from a life like his protagonist.In short, an inspiration to all filmmakers-they DEFINITELY don’t make them like this anymore!
Director: François Truffaut
Writers: François Truffaut (scenario), Marcel Moussy (adaptation) (as M. Moussy)
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier