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2. Les 400 coups

400 coups

Reasons to study this film

Very much centred around the effects of parenting on the way a young person grows up this film would complement the family topic common to all boards and also anything to do with social problems as similar language revolving around cause and effect would be required.

The interest of the film

It was essential for Truffaut that this his first film was a success after his continuous castigation in Cahiers du cinéma  of the "cinéma de papa", studio based adaptations of novels which bore in many cases little relation to the public's lives.

Autobiographical with certain changes made to try to avoid embarrassment to his parents the film traced the early life of a youngster who feels neglected and undervalued.   The shocking way in which he quickly ends up being completely rejected and handed over to the authorities is filmed sensitively and without pulling punches although compared to modern films on similar social topics its treatment is relatively mild.  It triumphed at the Cannes film festival and Truffaut's directing career was launched successfully as what that of his alter-ego Jean-Pierre Léaud who plays Antoine Doinel.

There are lots of interesting "motifs" to notice, not least the fact that everyone seems to be stealing from everyone else.    Reference to writing nod towards the autobiographical protagonists developing love of writing.    It is thus an interesting film from the point of view of cinematographic technique as one might expect from a director who would become one of the key representatives of the Nouvelle Vague.

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400 coups