Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959) François Truffaut

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Name:Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959) François Truffaut

Total Size: 700.44 MB

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Torrent added: 2009-09-02 09:09:11

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Les 400 coups ENG.sub (Size: 700.44 MB) (Files: 5)

 Les 400 coups ENG.sub

36.62 KB

 Les 400 coups ITA.srt

81.87 KB

 Les 400 coups SPA.srt

51.47 KB

 Les 400 coups TUR.sub

45.75 KB


700.23 MB

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Les quatre-cents coups is the film that opens up the New Wave movement. Ithink many of the characteristics of the New Wave -as pointed out inclass-can be inferred form the differences between the last film we saw inclass,Carné's Les enfants du paradis, and this work by Truffaut: real lifesituations, no sets, everyday people. I have found in Les quatre-centscoupsa brand new, refreshing and overwhelming cinema. But Les quatre-centscoupsis also a dense, complicated film. Its autobiographical character makes itan encyclopedia of personal feelings, opinions and nuances of anintrospection by Truffaut.

Technically, the main differences between Truffaut and the previous cinemais the use of camera movements and angles. Although Renoir had made awittyand fresh use of traveling and long takes, Truffaut masters this techniqueas anyone else does. The camera moves smoothly, it nearly swings or floatsfrom angle to angle following an action, as if the spectator was a ghostamid real life. Truffaut enjoys playing around with the camera: extremelylong takes as we have never seen in any of the previous films: some ofthemin the classroom, other in Antoine's friend house, or a magnificent takeatthe end of the film in which we see Antoine, then a panoramic view andthenAntoine again, running towards the sea. He also shoots from impossibleangles, like those at the beginning from below the Tour Eiffel, or thenearly zenithal take following the jogging students in the streets. Or heteases us with the fake black out, when Antoine goes down the stairs tothrow away garbage. Or shows us inner feelings through close-ups: thescenein which Antoine lies to his father telling him he did not take his map.

However, I think that the most important difference between previous filmsand this one is the treatment of action. Truffaut is an observer, aphotographer of soul. He takes a fiendish delight in shooting casual, longscenes: the boy tearing away his notebook pages; the whole sequence ofAntoine's arrival at his empty home is excellent: the three reflexes inhismother's mirror -in which she will look afterwards, or Antoine combing hishair, laying the table. Also the spinning ride, or the long travelingfollowing the escape of Antoine. They are long, but not slow. They keeptension up, as if everyday acts and decisions could be heroic and transmitthe greatest interest and attraction. It looks like a documentary on humanlife!Some comments could be made about Antoine Doinel, alter ego of Truffaut.Heis a very complicated character. The most curious thing about him is thathebehaves like an adult: he acts, walks and talks like a man -especially ifwecompare him to his teachers or his father! However, at some times I thinkTruffaut describes himself as being not too witty: remember the candle inthe hole on the wall, or how his friend convinces him to steal thetypewriter and then makes him give it back, or how he innocently copies awhole paragraph from Balzac. He wants to be an artist, but he is not -notyet. This lack of wit and fatality -he is caught but everyone around himcheats as he does- leads him to a rebellion that grows stronger andstronger. This explain why he is such a rebel and not his friend, or theother children in the class, who live in the same socialgroup.

The main topic in Les quatre-cents coups is the quest for freedom, but notin the way Renoir looked at it, in fact is closer to L'Atalante by Vigothan to Renoir's La grande illusion, for example. Renoir is more concernedby social struggle and the liberty of the people. But Truffaut is moreintrospective, more intimate: indeed this film is the description of lifeattitude of an independent spirit through the autobiographical look of theauthor -this is cinéma d'auteur. We can find many elements from Truffaut'slife in the film: a difficult family situation, problems at school, theArmy, etc. These elements will appear throughout the film. Antoine, alterego of Truffaut lives in the school, in his house, in the streets andfinally in the juvenile detention center. In each one of these places hewill find adverse situations he will have to overcome.

The schoolThe school is the first oppressing environment for Antoine. At the verybeginning he is caught, by chance, with a pin-up calendar. This fatalitywill be recalled in Antoine's life later or -when he is caught by theportergiving the typewriter back, having been his friend's idea to steal it. Heisa rebel, and nothing will refrain him from being so. He is punished, andhemisbehaves again, writing in the wall an inspired poem. The school is theonly place in which Truffaut makes a little bit of criticism, in this caseagainst the education system: the three teachers are either cruel (theFrench teacher) or stupid (the English and Physical Educationteachers).

The houseThe house situation might be similar to that lived by Truffaut in reallife.Her mother, a beautiful, egocentric and unscrupulous woman -sometimes sad,and old looking- who hates him. At the end of the film we discover thatshedid not want that child. This hatred and the attitude of his father -asmiley and cheerful but weak man- will add to the necessity of Antoine toflee. Truffaut gives us a Freudian wink: when his teacher asks him why hemissed school, Antoine will sharply answer: 'My mom died!'

The streetsIn the streets Antoine will find freedom, challenge, adulthood but alsoperversion: he becomes a man in a 13-year old boy body, little by little.But he will also become a criminal; together with his friend they willclimbup in the scale of crime.He first skips classes. He and his friend stroll around the city,innocently. Then they begin an adult, abnormally rebel behavior: they makecars stop in the middle of the street, for example. The spinning ride isoneof the few symbolic images in the film -that is another difference withVigoand Renoir filmmaking. The scene of Antoine trying without success tofightagainst centrifuge force in a mad spinning trip really shocked me: hefightsagainst reality and he is suffering, but he also has fun init.Afterwards, he leaves home. . He will learn about solitude and indeed notasingle word is heard in a long sequence. I really enjoyed the long, silentscene of the milk robbery. Antoine runs outlaw like an animal, we can feelloneliness, cold, hunger, sleepiness. It is another of those long, slowbutat the same time agile scenes about casual acts: drinking a bottle ofmilk.At the end, the streets will make him a criminal. From the moment he iscaught on, he is not treated as a child anymore. He wants to be an adult,and a spell will sort of be cast on him: he will be treated as such. It issignificant when he is caught by the porter. He is told not to take offthehat, which made him look like an adult. From then on, he is treatedroughlyas if he was a man, especially in the police station.

The prisonAnd finally he arrives at the prison, which I think is the climax ofoppression -we must remember the comparisons to the Army Truffaut detests.It is maybe the simplest of the scenarios, he find himself facing what hehates with no other possibility. The ending is a sublime anticlimax. Afterbeing punished for eating the bread, Antoine goes on 'normal' life withinthe detention center: he visits the psychologist -an ultimateintrospectionby Truffaut-, receives his mother and talk to his new friends and playssoccer. And suddenly, when we least expect it, he flees. He runs, runs,runs, the longest run I have ever seen, and the most exciting. He reachesthe sea: his dream, and a symbol for eternity and absolute in poetry. Hesplashes into the water, he stops and looks back; the first time he looksright into the camera. This has got undoubtedly a deep and very personalmeaning that maybe only the author knows. It is a pessimistic or anoptimistic ending? I think it is above all an out-of-this-world ending. Ifthe simple presence of the sea, Antoine's object of liberty, isoverwhelmingfor the spectator, how should the character feel? I really liked the finaltraveling: we follow Antoine's run over the sand, but the camera is facingthe inland, we are waiting to see the sea as much as Antoine is waiting towet his feet. I do not really think that he is deceived, although his lookinto the camera is ambiguous. I think he stares at the spectator becausehehas realized what the truth is: the character is now out of the film. Andthe truth for him, I think, is this: I can reach freedom whenever I want,but absolute freedom is impossible to achieve. He is staring at us, but heis also looking back with a grave look: he might have seen his pursuer inthe distance.

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