I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t seen this film until now.
François Truffaut’s first feature, The 400 Blows (Les quatre cents coups), is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut’s life-long cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), The 400 Blows sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut’s own difficult childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, petty crime, and a friendship that would last a lifetime. The film marks Truffaut’s passage from leading critic of the French New Wave to his emergence as one of Europe’s most brilliant auteurs.
What a brilliant movie. What impressed me the most about the film was Truffaut’s use of the camera, the way the camera moved (the tracking shot at the end is unbelievable) and intimate the scenes were for the viewer. In addition the friendship between Antoine and René is one of the cinema’s most tender and heartwarming friendships.
Better late than never to see this classic film.