2 mois et 1/2... Les 400 c. is the beginning of (and thus sadly inevitably already entails the end of) SELF-AFFIRMATION. The acting is self-affirmation too. This does not mean that it is a free thus unstructured, spontaneous film. The script, the camera mov., the editing... all testify to an understanding of cinema which is simply CINEPHILIA. Les 400 c. is the birth of a new form of being on screen, of existing.
It's a poignant coming of age story as well as an allegory representative of the alienated post-war generation in France & the birth of the french new wave. At the end, when Antoine is literally frozen in art, we can see that he has finally attained salvation for he has found his freedom. So has Truffaut.
"Antoine Doinel was played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, who has a kind of solemn detachment, as if his heart had suffered obscure wounds long before the film began. This was the first in a long collaboration between actor and director; they returned to the character in the short film "Antoine and Collette" (1962) and three more features: "Stolen Kisses" (1968), "Bed and Board" (1970) and "Love on the Run" (1979)."
Truffaut's beautiful love letter to all things that are dear to him. His childhood, his dear Paris and his master, Vigo. Truffaut once said that he was only interested in films that captured the excitement and the stress of filmmaking. That's exactly what you find here, as he continues to find breathtaking ways to shoot this child's life. In general, there are few films that capture nostalgia as elegantly.
I was completely blown away the first time I saw The 400 Blows, and the film still remains rich after multiple viewings. You cannot fully understand post-WWII French cinema without seeing this film. The ending punctuates the story in a haunting and memorable way.
I like a lot of things about this movie. I like how the camera moves laterally and how autobiographic it is. As if Truffaut is taking a camera and following himself, selectively choosing his POV from his medium shots. This is a film set in Paris; it doesn't make Paris seem like some kind of magical wonder filled with opportunities, but a place, a memory. A very subtle, very personal movie.