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.
"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…
The 400 Blows is my very first Francois Truffaut-film (his too!), and it certainly won't be my last. The first film in the series of films about Antoine Doinel, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud in the lead role impressed me. What I liked was how genuine and real it felt. Some of what caused that is probably the excellent camerawork, always moving with this natural flow to it, it just felt right I guess. But Jean-Pierre Léaud's performance as Antoine Doinel is probably one of the most impressive performances I've ever seen from a child that age, if not the best. The way he managed to convey Antoine's inner emotions through his facial expressions was impressive as hell. I'm curious to see…
The 400 Blows has resonated strongly with people over the past 50 years, because it is a film everyone can relate to. A troubled adolescence is something most people have more or less lived through and as such Antoine's struggles with family and school really hit home. He's a kind kid who as a result of being constantly pushed around by the adults around him (and even a fellow classmate) delves into a life of petty crime and rebellion against authorities. Everything that happens to him over the course of the film could've been avoided had someone simply listened to him or just paid attention to him. Due to not being able to finish his homework his fear of going…
Part of Lise and Jonnie’s What A Wonderful World: May 30 days, 30 countries.
I came out of this morning’s screening of The 400 Blows rather cold and unaffected. It’s not that I didn’t like it or appreciate its style; it’s just that I didn’t have any feeling for Antoine. A few hours have passed now, and I think that may be exactly what Truffaut wanted me to feel, or not feel.
The young Jean-Pierre Leaud gave a brilliant, unaffected, performance. His character never asked for sympathy. When he was recounting his childhood to the psychologist near the end of the film, his delivery was very matter of fact. Absence of malice. At the beginning of the film we…
Truffaut is a master of composition, I'll tell you that. The way that the images move just feels so...right. Maybe this is because The 400 Blows utilizes the widescreen format to set up the geography of the spaces, without falling back on two-dimensional establishing shots. When the camera moves, we move right with it.
There's a moment in here, where Antoine Doinel, played wonderfully Jean-Pierre Léaud, is with his stepfather, probably having some sorta mundane conversation, but Antoine is clearly pained internally. When the stepfather exits the frame, Léaud lets the pretenses drop from his face, as Truffaut's camera sets into a steady pan forward into Antoine's face, bringing us into an understated but emotionally effective close-up. Just then, the…
Την Κυριακή, μια πιτσιρίκα τσιγγάνα μάς ζήτησε τσιγάρο. Μην της δώσεις, είναι παιδί, είπα στη Ντίνα. Ο Antoine Doinel κάπνιζε στην ηλικία της, μου απάντησε.
Όλα τα αστεράκια του κόσμου, για τα τσιγάρα που έχω καπνίσει ξαναξαναξαναβλέποντας αυτή την ταινία.
The first thought that comes to mind is that it's very easy to relate to this film and its leading character - Antoine Doinel. The troubling life of a preteen kid that's on bad terms with his parents, teachers, school. Really, that was almost watching myself. And to think that this movie is 55 years old.
"I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between." --Francois Truffaut
Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" (1959) is one of the most intensely touching stories ever made about a young adolescent. Inspired by Truffaut's own early life, it shows a resourceful boy growing up in Paris and apparently dashing headlong into a life of crime. Adults see him as a troublemaker. We are allowed to share some of his private moments, as when he lights a candle before a little shrine to Balzac in his bedroom. The film's famous final shot, a zoom in to a freeze frame, shows him looking…
Being a kid is a terrible experience that, if lucky, we get over and move one.
Man, the adults in this kid's life really let him down.
I had expected this to be a poignant coming-of-age tale: it was. I expected it to be a important part of film grammar: it was. I expected it to have one of the best child performances I've seen: it had. What I hadn't expected was for it to be so uniquely funny.
Glancing through other reviews, does not seem to be the most common take, so let me give an example. There's a scene when Antoine, having missed school the day before, has to make up an excuse for his teacher on the fly. He says his mother has died, and the teacher buys it: we can already start laughing out of the level of insanity on display. If not,…
A clear predecessor to works by Loach and the Dardennes, Truffaut's stylistic surety, class performances and simple truths prove moving beyond words.
The idea of
Truffaut's films appeals to me
More than his films do.
Excellent movie. No idea why the opening credits roll appear over obsessive views of the Eiffel Tower from all points of the Parisian compass, but the movie is utterly engaging, moving, real.
"It will be one of the movies we can put in a time capsule to convince the next generations that some of us, at least, breathed." -Roger Ebert
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