Thursday, 22 May 2014

''The 400 Blows'' (1959 movie)- Review

Directed by: François Truffaut
Released: 1959
Country: France

Genre: Dtrama

Cast: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Albert Remy, Claire Maurier, Patrick Auffay, Guy Decomble

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Francois Traffaut, in his first feature film ''The 400 Blows'', tells the sad, emotional story of a teenaged boy- a misunderstood, mentally tortured boy- his trials and tribulations, bearing all the tortures and injustice silently. It's an emotional, beautiful little film- amazing cast, beautiful cinematography, excellent screenplay, and overall, a great presentation and an emotional, touching story.

Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) lives with his almost indifferent parents- his mother is very harsh to him, behaves rudely with him, though his father (stepfather, as we come to know later), is softer and friendlier, and yet, more or less, indifferent. They don't hate him, yet they pay very little attention to him, and thinks that he is mischievous. At school, his teacher cannot stand him.

The film deals with the events of the young teenager's life, his difficult times at home, at school, indifference of his mother, cruelty of his teacher, and ultimately, running away from home (because his teacher suspended him from school, accusing him of plagiarism), involving himself in theft, leading to worse consequences...

The film is beautifully presented. The cinematography is marvelous, and the score... it is simply so beautiful, so melodious. Jean-Pierre Leaud's performance really amazed me. The character of Antoine Doinel was so strong, so well-develop,  that once cannot but marvel. Amazing. It's not that his parents hate him. It's not that his teacher hates him. But he is misunderstood. He wants to be treated well, he tries his best, but he almost never gets the affection, the care that he wants, from his mother. There are scenes, though, when we come to understand that his mother, deep in her heart, loves him; she is worried because Antoine hadn't returned home the previous night, and comes to his school to take him home. At home, she talks affectionately with him, telling him of the importance of sharing his sorrows and worries with parents, and about the importance of education, and promising to reward him if he scores well in the class tests. The following few scenes are quite sweet, as we see him eventually getting closer to his parents, but even this is ruined after he is suspended from school- he runs away from school, leading to more dreadful consequences. The conversation between Antoine and his mother at the reformatory was not only shocking but also so saddening. And there is a screen where we see a conversation between Antoine and the psychiatrist (whose face we never see), and Antoine recounts his whole life, further making us realize what a sad life he has been leading since his childhood.

 The last few scenes are so wonderful, so memorable. We see him running, running away, and the camera moves with him- so wonderfully made, so thematic, so symbolic. And the very final scene, which shows him looking at the screen, is extremely unforgettable as well. Wonderful film, touching, emotional, with beautiful cinematography, score, screenplay, and an excellent performance by Jean-Pierre Leaud.

4.5 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment