BFI Top 50 Greatest Films ever: No 39 – The 400 Blows (Les quatre cents coups)

 Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel

The 400 Blows: Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel

I finally got round to starting my film challenge (which diligent readers will remember is to watch the 50 films that the BFI’s writers decided are the 50 greatest films ever) with Number 39 François Truffaut’s 400 Blows. To be honest I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen it before in its entirety – I recognised lots of scenes but couldn’t put them all together into one story.

So what do I think? It’s amazing even now 54 years later. There’s a simplicity to the storytelling and a directness between the film and the audience. It talks to you. Jean-Pierre Léaud is a revelation and you do feel in watching this you’re pretty much watching the progenitor of almost every French film since.

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