12 February 2006 | maax48
French cinema at its best
Truffaut has worked wonders here, creating a masterful tale of a boy confused, troubled, and unloved. Antoine Doinel (played superbly by Jean-Pierre Léaud in the lead role) has strict, unfaithful parents, and a harsh, oppressive teacher, and falls into delinquency because of his unhappiness. He lies, steals, skips school and runs away from home, and soon ends up in a juvenile delinquency centre.
Truffaut's inspiration for this film came from his own depressed childhood, so he bases Antoine on himself, including in terms of appearance. Being a 'New Wave' (a cinematographic movement of the sixties, involving directors who believed Hollywood films were too lavish and unreal) director, Truffaut always used a real location for the film, including breathtaking shots of Truffaut's native Paris. He also made a cameo in the film in the style of Hitchcock.
Delinquance is the key theme here. Antoine, who is a character who believes in liberty and freedom, and the way he is always locked up is repressive for him, and this provokes a constant need for him to be out.
Trying to make a realistic and moving film was Truffaut's aim, which, by watching this film, I realised that he had done amazingly well. Also, by combining humour and drama too, we have the defining French film of the 20th century. A black and white film that is full of colour. Bien sur, François Truffaut.