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Paul Jensen

THE 400 BLOWS (1959) 5 stars

Truffaut's autobiographical debut marks the beginning of French New Wave's popularity. Touching, honest and simple. Truffaut was the first to portray children as they really are. His care for humanity shines through in this understated and tremendously emotional masterpiece. The milk bottle scene gets me every time. The final sequence remains a landmark due to its groundbreaking length and insight (breaking the rules and liberating both the protagonist and cinema itself.) It also has an open-ended nature that provokes the audience to ask, what now? The limitless horizon line illustrates the potential in cinema while stating the ocean as a place that Truffaut went to himself, without the help of his forefathers. Lastly, the final freeze frame is like a snapshot - a portrait - of a life. An ordinary kid who is both alone and searching. Our own lives deserve to be up there on the screen. Truffaut lead the way and countless followed.


Genre: Foreign
Director: Francois Truffaut