Thursday, December 27, 2007

Soaking It In: The 400 Blows

The 400 BlowsThe 400 Blows (1959) by François Truffaut: 99 minutes, 8.1 IMDB, 100% fresh tomatoes

I'm sorry, hordes of Truffaut-lovers. I'm sorry, all you critics who unanimously gave this film positive reviews. But this is a dumb film.

It's too easy. Here's a quick overview of The 400 Blows' earth-shattering revelations about childhood: teachers are stupid, parents don't care, children try to cheat but aren't very good at it, some kids are brownnosers.

And the equally world-shaking takes on film: Those early film gadgets were kewl and audiences are like kids watching a puppet show (only stupider).


My notes:
  • 0:12:00 First thought on the carnival ride: that liquid at the bottom is disgusting. Second thought: It's a reference to a zoetrope. Third thought: Yeah, that liquid's disgusting.
  • 0:42:00 So the language professor thinks English-speakers have lisps?
  • 1:03:00 He didn't notice the ankles? The actor who played René's father stared right at Antoine's ankles as Antoine was supposedly hiding behind the bed and Truffaut didn't reshoot the scene? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
  • 1:05:00 An insufferably long puppet show.
  • 1:07:10 An insufferably long typewriter theft sequence.
  • 1:10:50 Antoine had a disguise hat in his pocket the whole time and he didn't use it when he stole the typewriter? I guess the French education system has really failed this child.
  • 1:27:20 Look, Antoine! A free watch!
  • 1:31:30 Let's hope this is one of those made-up things in this semi-autobiographical film, 'cause I really don't like the idea that Truffaut is taking this opportunity to brag about his childhood attempts to hire a prostitute.
  • 1:35:00 An insufferably long running-down-the-road sequence.
  • 1:39:00 Worst. Ending. Ever.
The cousinnephew summary:
  • I thought a few times it was going to be the end of the movie, but it kept going. I wondered when it was going to stop. I thought it was going to end with him being shipped off to jail. And it didn't.
  • Not sure if the lesson is it's his nature and you just can't change him, or what.
  • (Regarding camera work:) It had a few nicely-angled things. It had that long, long running scene, with the camera moving along with him. For SO LONG.
  • Another black and white that they didn't need to be (meaning that color film was available). They could have done it in color, but they didn't because they wanted to show that this kid is black and white. He's not going to change. He tried to do good, but ends up just kinda blowing it.
  • He's a darker, more trouble-making character. Not sure if it was because of the way he was raised.
  • (Asked what he would emulate in his own filmmaking:) They had a lot of good, young kid actors.
  • Noted the lack of music during the running sequence.
Some links:

No comments: