From Boyhood to Adulthood, En Français: The Antoine Doinel Films
Editor’s Notes: Boyhood is open in limited release. Read Corina’s review from Berlin (9.0 / 10.0).
In 1959, François Truffaut introduced the world to the rebellious Antoine Doinel (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud). The child not only helped garner Truffaut the Best Director award (for The 400 Blows) at Cannes, but he also introduced international audiences to the Nouvelle Vague (the French New Wave). Truffaut (and Doinel’s) impact on cinematic history would be immense, and though the New Wave would only last ’til the mid-1960s, Antoine Doinel’s story would continue well into the late-1970s.
Based on many elements from Truffaut’s own childhood, Antoine Doinel became an outlet for Truffaut’s obsessions, explorations, and experimentations. With four features (The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run) and one short (Antoine and Colette), Truffaut chronicled Antoine’s story from his troubled childhood to his misguided adulthood. Yet the director counterbalanced the trials/tribulations with blissful (and sometimes romantic) moments, revealing that Antoine’s life wasn’t all sorrow and misery. It is a cathartic experience (no matter how commercial the films may have become) to see the future of the pitiful boy from The 400 Blows.