Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #129 The 400 Blows

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Movie #129 The 400 Blows

(1959, France, d. Francois Truffaut)

The 400 Blows is often studied in the realms of the French New Wave for its realism, novel forms of filmmaking, and audacity to throw away with more conventional storytelling techniques, especially that of the cinema du papas (Cinema of our Fathers, referring to traditional French cinema). One of the first auteurs, at least according to Cahiers du Cinema co-editor Andre Bazin (who the film is dedicated to), Truffaut molded a very personal story told in a new, but realistic fashion that did its fair share of borrowing from the Italian neo-realists, particularly Zavvatini and Rossellini. But apart from that, I think 400 Blows is one of the few French New Wave films that could still captivate a modern audience. It’s perhaps one of the most touching stories about childhood and the trials and tribulations of just not being understood. It’s eclectic tone blends high humor and real drama to form a very fragile and sometimes quite troubling picture. Shot on a very small budget, the film is not only a showcase for the talent of Truffaut but also the cinephelic knowledge he brings to the screen. Many scenes in the film refer to older films, current films, and even popular literature. All in all, The 400 Blows is funny and touching as well as being smart and well-crafted


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