The 400 Blows

The film was so fluid, so graceful, so apparently natural, that it seemed not to have any agenda at all. It didn’t feel wilful; it felt (as revolutions too rarely do) inevitable.

—Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times

 

 

Until 1959, François Truffaut was known as the young, notoriously savage critic for Cahier du Cinéma who had been banned from Cannes for his abrasive views. 

With The 400 Blows, he established himself as a filmmaker in his own right, with a debut boasting acute emotional subtlety alongside its artful experimentation.  

Truffaut's return to Cannes was triumphant, and he left with the Best Director prize.

The 400 Blows follows 14-year-old Antoine as he navigates 1950s Paris and the figures of authority who – wilfully or not –  misunderstand him. It's an historic artefact, capturing a culture on the cusp of the cultural and artistic revolutions of the 1960s – but its picture of childhood is timeless.

At the centre of the film's miraculous evocation of childhood is the performance of Jean-Pierre Léaud. Truffaut found Léaud after issuing a casting call in France-Soir and instantly recognised a kindred spirit.

The pair went on to collaborate on four further films depicting Antoine Dionel's life, over the course of twenty years. 

A recurring theme of the film – and one of great passions of Antoine's life – is moviegoing. Like Truffaut at the same age, Antoine sneaks out of school and into cinemas in scenes of ecstatic transportation.

In one, unusually joyful family scene, Antoine and his parents make a spontaneous trip to the cinema, laughing and chatting freely in the glow of its magic the whole car ride home.

For Truffaut, it was simple: “Cinema saved my life.”

The 400 Blows’ fans are numerous, avowed and diverse, including Sam Mendes (Skyfall), Greg Mottola (Superbad), Sophie Fiennes (The Pervert's Guide to Ideology) and Pablo Giorgielli (Las Acacias) – who all named it one of their ten favourite films in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll.

Truffaut's iconically youthful film shows no sign of ageing yet.

 

The 400 Blows is showing as part of GROWING PAINS on TANK TV until 27 March 2020

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The 400 Blows

The film was so fluid, so graceful, so apparently natural, that it seemed not to have any agenda at all. It didn’t feel wilful; it felt (as revolutions too rarely do) inevitable.

—Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times

Until 1959, François Truffaut was known as the young, notoriously savage critic for Cahier du Cinéma who had been banned from Cannes for his abrasive views. 

With The 400 Blows, he established himself as a filmmaker in his own right, with a debut boasting acute emotional subtlety alongside its artful experimentation.  

Truffaut's return to Cannes was triumphant, and he left with the Best Director prize.

The 400 Blows follows 14-year-old Antoine as he navigates 1950s Paris and the figures of authority who – wilfully or not –  misunderstand him. It's an historic artefact, capturing a culture on the cusp of the cultural and artistic revolutions of the 1960s – but its picture of childhood is timeless.

At the centre of the film's miraculous evocation of childhood is the performance of Jean-Pierre Léaud. Truffaut found Léaud after issuing a casting call in France-Soir and instantly recognised a kindred spirit.

The pair went on to collaborate on four further films depicting Antoine Dionel's life, over the course of twenty years. 

A recurring theme of the film – and one of great passions of Antoine's life – is moviegoing. Like Truffaut at the same age, Antoine sneaks out of school and into cinemas in scenes of ecstatic transportation.

In one, unusually joyful family scene, Antoine and his parents make a spontaneous trip to the cinema, laughing and chatting freely in the glow of its magic the whole car ride home.

For Truffaut, it was simple: “Cinema saved my life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 400 Blows’ fans are numerous, avowed and diverse, including Sam Mendes (Skyfall), Greg Mottola (Superbad), Sophie Fiennes (The Pervert's Guide to Ideology) and Pablo Giorgielli (Las Acacias) – who all named it one of their ten favourite films in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll.

Truffaut's iconically youthful film shows no sign of ageing yet.

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