Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
The 400 Blows
Angel faces hell-bent for violence.
Intensely touching story of a misunderstood young adolescent who left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.
François Truffaut's feature film debut is an intensely touching portrait of our adolescent years which beautifully captures the day-to-day activities we spent doing for hours despite it being deemed useless by our parents & teachers, the classes we bunked to go for movies or play, the teachers we loved to hate and the many times we were 'disciplined' for the smallest of things.
The 400 Blows is my first stint with this director's works & the elegant manner in which he has unfolded this story before our eyes is sheer poetry. Set in early 1950s Paris, the film is an expertly crafted character study of a young adolescent who's often misunderstood by his peers &, after being left with no attention, delves…
How do you explain what it's like to lose yourself in a film? The 400 Blows describes it particularly well. Francois Truffaut was an expert cinephile, after all: sneaking into theaters via washroom windows, gravitating closer and closer toward the screen so that for a few hours his world was only moving images shedding diffused light on hundreds of faces turned up to the screen.
But perhaps Truffaut wasn't intent on forgetting the rest of the world when he started sitting so close to the screen; perhaps he was simply dealing with weakening eyesight. That would be quite like him and his work, anyway: mundane realities finding their way into cinema in a manner that renders them achingly poetic.
Review In A Nutshell:
So far I have seen only two French New Wave films, and both of them were from Francois Truffaut. The first I have seen was Jules and Jim, which I felt was a bit of a disappointment due to its lack of empathetic characters and lack of drama. The second would be The 400 Blows. I came into this film not knowing how I would feel as my feelings towards the director's works have been like a see-saw, and the hype for this was large but I tried my best not to let that affect my viewing…
Ever since I first noticed Francois Truffaut in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I quickly figured out that he was a famous French director....but his movies were not known to me at the time. Well over the years I have watched a few of his movies....it took watching The 400 Blows to finally find one of his movies that I liked.
In this one....a 13 year old boy is having a difficult childhood. It seems that he is always getting in trouble. When we first meet him, he is in trouble for passing notes in school....by the end of the movie he is in a detention home for boys. The movie is shot in black and white…
Oh, I lie now and then, I suppose. Sometimes I'd tell them the truth and they still wouldn't believe me, so I prefer to lie.
- Antoine Doinel
François Truffaut is a director who's work I'm still yet to explore. I think the main reason for that is because when I watched The 400 Blows a year or so ago, I wasn't that amazed by it and so decided to find other directors instead. After having watched it again twice since then I can tell you that it's certainly grown on me to the point that I have a few more of Truffaut's films on my immediate watchlist.
The story is about Antoine Doinel, a misunderstood adolescent living in Paris…
"I need some money for lunch, dad. Only 1,000 francs."
"Therefore you hope for 500. Therefore you need 300. Here's 100."
#100 on Berken's Favorite Movies Of All Time
As a standalone - 4/5
As the "pilot episode" of Francois Truffaut's series of movies starring the character Antoine Doinel, introduced here - 4.5/5
(Granted, I haven't seen the other Doinel movies yet, but this one got me genuinely excited to see more of what the character becomes and encounters, which is the most important thing a first entry in a series can do.)
Some scattered thoughts:
1. Just between the quietly thoughtful 400 Blows and Jean-Luc Godard's beautifully unhinged Breathless, it's already clear to me that the French New Wave…
Oh, dude, you better watch what you say about the crime organization The 400, or else Jorge Alberto Rodríguez will put a hit out on you. I'm betting this kid can take him, because with this title, you'd think that we would be dealing with a classic kung-fu thriller... or a parkour thriller. Well, this was developed in France long before parkour, but you know that it's still going to be thrilling something fierce, because it's a French film. I'm being sarcastic, sure, but this film is reasonably interesting, even if it so French that it stars a dude named Jean-Pierre. I think Jean-Pierre Léaud is more of a Hollywood-style child actor than a French-style one, because he was kind…
My first foray into French cinema, and what an introduction this film was. The 400 blows is the story of a boy who is lost and slips through the cracks unnoticed by his family. He quickly turns to criminal activities after being suspended from his school by his cruel teacher. What follows is a heartbreaking tale of a young child and the people around him not understanding what he is going through and also not knowing what to do with him. I think it would be easy to look at this film and think it is a small scale story with out a lot of overarching importance. I think that would be a major misstep though, the power comes from…
Remains one of the greatest films ever made about childhood.
Unfortunately I didn't love The 400 Blows but it is a very good movie. The photography, performances, music and script are all great but there's something that I didn't really connect with this film. I liked its honesty and know that it's loosely based on the directors childhood but it felt a bit contrived to me.
Just rewatched this amazing film.
Yeah, the last scene.
The oldest coming-of-age film I've ever seen, and the most French. It speaks to the young and scorned.
Perfect film! Loved every second of it
One of my top 5 films of all time, and not for nothing. I never tire of watching it, even under circumstances where the DVD player isn't set properly, so the image is squished, and during the ending a moron shouts, "run, Forrest, run!" I wept for humanity, but I also wept because the movie is so beautiful in every respect.
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