Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The 400 Blows

French New Wave. It's a thing. This is an example of it. Francois Truffaut is certainly a name I've seen bandied about, and I've actually seen one of his movies before, though I was pretty young and I didn't like it much. It was Small Change, and was a mostly plot-free comedy about being a kid. The 400 Blows is also about being a kid, though the angle it takes is much darker. It stars a boy named Antoine, who has trouble with his parents and the teachers at his school. He doesn't necessarily want to be bad, but his mistakes sometimes get him in more trouble than he probably should, and the combination of bad guidance and poor circumstances lead him to eventually get into worse situations than a kid his age ever should.

The film feels fairly modern despite being made in the 50s, and Truffaut shows some real skill despite this being his first feature. He pulls good performances from his cast, especially the young Jean-Pierre LĂ©aud as Antoine. The two apparently worked together so well that they made four more films together about the same character over time. To be honest, I appreciated what the film did more than I really enjoyed watching it for most of the (pretty short) running time. The movie got stronger as it went on, though, a bit more adventurous with the style and more interesting to watch. The last few shots in particular were pretty amazing, consisting of some long tracking stuff that I was really impressed by. I don't really have much to say about this movie, though it was certainly a worthwhile film to see. I'm not that anxious to see more of Truffaut's work, though I might be interested in the next Antoine movie.

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