400 Blows - care to explain?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BrianKM, Apr 14, 2002.

  1. BrianKM

    BrianKM Stunt Coordinator

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    Just watched this "masterpiece" tonight and at the end, all I could do was say "huh?"
    Granted, Truffaut captures the adult misinterpretation of teenage motives extremely well and there are a number of visually arresting shots (gym teacher's march through the city, running down the stairs), but the film is so very very sloooooooooooow, and seems to just meander along until it mercifully drowns itself in the ocean. From Ebert's review, it appears that The 400 Blows was autobiographical, but it plays out more like a report on what Timmy did over summer vacation - there's no plot to speak of, no character development, no editing, and no direction.
    This film is said to have sparked a revolution (French New Wave) in filmmaking, so what am I missing?
     
  2. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    My suggestion to you is to watch it again. Much of the film's power is in its subtlety. This is probably one of the more accessible New Wave films, so if it doesn't appeal to you then I don't suggest you look up others like it.

    You're not very specific in your mini-review but I find it puzzling that you attack the film for having no character development, editing or direction. I'll tell you that Truffaut is in control of film language in a way that very few directors of the time (and even today) were. Personally, I find young Antoine to be a completely fleshed out character. If some of the adults in the film appear cruel, even to an excessive degree, just remember whose point of view is telling the story.

    If the film doesn't offer any kind of concrete answer or conclusion, it's because there are no easy answers or conclusions to such a story. This is one of the great French films (and one of my favorites), it isn't The Breakfast Club. So watch it again before dismissing it, and look closer. The film is much more complex and significant than you give it credit for.
     
  3. BrianKM

    BrianKM Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Spoilers for the movie below!

     
  5. BrianKM

    BrianKM Stunt Coordinator

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    Adam, I thank you for connecting some of the the loose threads that I had running around in my head. I must admit that I cannot see extended sequences such as the gym march, boy with the ink and notebook, and Antoine running as anything but superfluous and self-indulgent. If Truffaut was indeed trying to show banality and meniality in those first two sequences, I believe there are better ways than boring the audience into catatonia. The last sequence still smacks of slopping editing, despite the name attached to the masthead.

     
  6. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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  7. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Brian, where you around when this film first came out?

    Perhaps its power has been a bit diluted by time and by countless imitations, inspirations and hommages, but when it first came out it was incredibly innovative in form and in its views of childhood.

    I was around when it was first released, and still find it mesmerizing not just as a movie but as a reminder of a particular time and place. Whenever it's on TV, I can't help it, I'm glued.
     

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