Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows is one of the most important films of the French New Wave and one of the most intensely moving coming of age stories ever to be put on screen. The director’s first film, made before his 27th birthday, the movie is an exemplar of Truffaut’s best qualities as a filmmaker: his clarity, honesty, directness, his simplicity and deep feeling. A semiautobiographical movie, The 400 Blows follows the 12 year old Antoine Dionel (Jean-Pierre Leaud, who would reprise the role another four times), typecast by his mostly absent parents and socially incompetent teachers as a troublemaker and a liar, and lets us share in his minor joys and sorrows. The film’s personal nature is made obvious even before the opening credits, when we find out the film is dedicated to influential critic of Cahiers du Cinema and Truffaut’s mentor, Andre Bazin. The sense of intimacy and immediacy continues through the first few shots of the movie, long fluid takes of the middle-class quarters of the city in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. This is a Parisian’s Paris, seen in traveling shots of the empty streets and buildings and low angle shots directly under the tower, not the postcard cityscape establishing shots.
I love movies. I have loved movies all my life. I grew up on them. When I was eight years old, I managed to convince myself I would make movies when I grew up. Now I am in the process of getting a degree in Film Studies. I write about film more than ever before, partly because I have to for my classes, mostly because I enjoy it, because I have something to write about. Sometimes it helps me understand the film better; sometimes it helps me understand myself better.I created this blog as a place to showcase my work, and also as an incentive to keep writing reviews, analyses, and essays over breaks, when there’s no one here to grade me.I have tried many times, and failed, to explain in a coherent manner why it is that I love films. Here is my best—and most coherent—guess.