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44 400 Blows, The 
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Post Re: 44 400 Blows, The
The 400 Blows

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The 400 Blows (1959) is the debut feature of French director François Truffaut. It tells the story of Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud), a mischievous boy in his early teens who, through a series of unfortunate events, encounters increasing difficulties in his life.

Before directing this film, Truffaut had achieved some notoriety as a film critic for the French magazine Cahiers du cinema. While writing for Cahiers he famously developed the controversial but enduring auteur theory.

Since Truffaut was widely considered something of an enfant terrible himself the film is reportedly semi-autobiographical. What struck me as interesting, however, is that Antoine is not really a bad child. Rather, his situation is the product of misfortune and the treatment he receives from his parents. For instance, he initially gets into trouble in school for possessing a photo of a pinup. However, that photo was being passed around the class and Antoine was the unfortunate pupil who was caught with it.

I believe this film easily earns its status as a "great film" and encourage everyone to seek it out. The films of the French New Wave are often criticized for being cold and pretentious, but I don't see any of that in this film at all. It is a honest and heartfelt portrayal.

The film sits at the #75 position on James Berardinelli's Top 100. His review contains lots of interesting information about the film and is worth a look. It also makes my thoughts redundant, more or less:
http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=182


Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:10 pm
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Post Re: 44 400 Blows, The
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I believe this film easily earns its status as a "great film" and encourage everyone to seek it out. The films of the French New Wave are often criticized for being cold and pretentious, but I don't see any of that in this film at all. It is a honest and heartfelt portrayal.


I'm not a fan of the New Wave, but really like this film. Probably because its so different from other New Wave films. This seems like its on a different planet compared to anything Godard did(I imagine he hated it)


Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:42 pm
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Post Re: 44 400 Blows, The
calvero wrote:
Quote:
I believe this film easily earns its status as a "great film" and encourage everyone to seek it out. The films of the French New Wave are often criticized for being cold and pretentious, but I don't see any of that in this film at all. It is a honest and heartfelt portrayal.


I'm not a fan of the New Wave, but really like this film. Probably because its so different from other New Wave films. This seems like its on a different planet compared to anything Godard did(I imagine he hated it)


I've heard your criticisms (and those of others) of the New Wave and am leery of the movement. That said, I've absolutely loved the two (this and Breathless) that I've seen. Admittedly, these are often cited as some of the "easier" films of the New Wave.


Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:51 pm
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Post Re: 44 400 Blows, The
I have trouble liking this film. Overall, I thought it was unremarkable. I had trouble relating to the kid and feeling compassion towards what he goes through. It was a letdown, especially after seeing Jules et Jim, which I thought was fantastic.


Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:56 am
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Post Re: 44 400 Blows, The
“The 400 Blows” (1959)

Antoine Daniel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is a 13-year-old screw-up. He’s being raised by a mother (Claire Maurier) who considers him an inconvenience -unless he’s serving her- and a stepfather (Albert Remy) who has greater interest in his latest racing accessory purchase than in Antoine. He makes bad decisions and is handily caught in each. Following repeated punishments at school, he attempts to live on his own and also meets defeat. His ineptitude will become his own undoing, but will ultimately take him to a place he only has dreamed of. Despite the distinct foreign flavor to the presentation, the contents of the dish served are anything but foreign. Growing up is challenging. Actions begin to have consequences, as does inaction. Truffaut’s visuals are stark and successfully capture the dim outlook of the characters.
The children of the Baby-Boomers must have presented some ill-equipped parents with more challenges than any previous generation. Both “400” and 1955’s “Rebel Without a Cause” convey this effectively. “400” appears in almost every single top 100 movie list in existence. Personally, I found it slightly difficult to enjoy and would have preferred “Rebel” with a “Cool Hand Luke” chaser.

Awf Hand gives 3 out of 4 stars losing a half-star for the awful “ice cream truck” musical score, and my lack of enjoyment at watching a 13 year old screw-up, screw-up.


Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:14 am
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