in about 100 words or less
France 99m, B&W
Director: François Truffaut; Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy, Guy Decomble
As homage to Jean Vigo’s Zéro de Conduite (1933), Les Quatre Cents Coups is a more personal portrayal of the unjust treatment of troubled French youth. The story follows Antoine Doinel, a 12-year old boy who lives in a cramped Paris apartment with his alcoholic mother and his occasionally estranged father. After repeatedly getting into trouble at school and eventually with the police, Antoine is eventually given up to the state’s juvenile “justice” system. As a commentary on injustice, alienation, and child abuse, 400 Blows is a poignant narrative born out of the Italian realism movement of the 1940s from such films as Rome, Open City (1945) and Bicycle Thieves (1949) (Klaus Ming December 2011).