The 400 Blows View large image


Film Details

Directed by: François Truffaut

Produced: 1959

Countries & Regions: France

DVD Details

Certificate: tc

Length: 95 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 11 August 2014

Cat No: ART710DVD

Languages(s): French
Subtitles: English
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The 400 Blows

Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud , Claire Maurier , Guy Decomble , Albert Remy , Jacques Monod , Claude Mansard , Patrick Auffray , Robert Beauvais , Marius Laurey , Daniel Couturier

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Francois Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical first feature stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel, an unruly young Parisian whose... Read More




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Francois Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical first feature stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel, an unruly young Parisian whose unhappiness leads him into trouble. Frequently running away from school and home, Antoine spends much of his time playing with his friends on the steets of the city; but events take a more serious turn when an accusation of plagiarism leads him to quit school and the theft of a typewriter lands him in trouble with the police. Léaud was to reprise his role as Doinel in four further Truffaut-directed adventures: ’Antoine et Colette’ (1962), ’Baiser volés’ (1968), ’Domicile conjugal’ (1970), and ’Love on the Run’ (1979).

A masterpiece by "New Wave" director Francois Truffaut in his debut film. Antoine Doinel is a Parisian teenager who becomes a small time criminal in a desperate cry for help. His parents have enough to deal with themselves, the teachers are tyrants and his search for freedom becomes increasingly untenable. A superbly directed film by Truffaut, nicely acted by Jean-Pierre Léaud. A film about chance meetings, missed opportunities, battering at the hands of society and the price one must sometimes pay for ones lifestyle.

Few filmmakers have approached the subject of adolescence with more honesty or simplicity than François Truffaut in this poignantly autobiographical tale that sought to return French cinema to the purer days of poetic realism.

Belying his reputation as a firebrand at Cahiers du Cinéma, Truffaut broke few rules with the story of a youth who winds up in borstal while reeling from the treachery of his mother's adultery. But, in quoting his auteur heroes and thanking mentor André Bazin, Truffaut restored an audiovisual authenticity to French film, which had become stifled by literary pretension. Moreover, he gave fresh impetus to the nouvelle vague by winning the Best Director prize at Cannes and launched a masterly cycle of pictures in which Jean-Pierre Léaud reprised the character of Antoine Doinel.

Throughout, Truffaut's directorial choices are bold, but never gratuitous, with the closing freeze frame remaining among the medium's most iconic moments. Yet it's Henri Decaë's monochrome cinematography that enabled Truffaut to achieve the directorial equivalent of Method acting, as he created great art from personal experience and psychological pain.

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