Directed by: François Truffaut
Countries & Regions: France
Length: 95 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 11 August 2014
Cat No: ART710DVD
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The 400 Blows
Also available on Blu-ray
Francois Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical first feature stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel, an unruly young Parisian whose... Read More
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.