5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doinel

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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giovannii84
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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#151 Post by giovannii84 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:29 pm

Zot! wrote:Even the short sequel that appears on the DVD is still missing. I expect this has to be a toppermost earner for them however, so the set is perhaps still forthcoming.
I agree. I imagine this is one of their biggest sellers, which has been with them since the very beginning. Antoine Doinel will probably be reissued later this year. Fingers crossed.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#152 Post by Moe Dickstein » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:00 pm

That short only appears on 400 Blows within the Doinel set, yes?

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#153 Post by swo17 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:05 pm

Yes.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#154 Post by Cinephrenic » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:41 pm

So this is basically the same transfer as previous blu, just upgraded to dual-format?

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#155 Post by knives » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:43 pm

Yes.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#156 Post by Yaanu » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:40 pm

Cinephrenic wrote:So this is basically the same transfer as previous blu, just upgraded to dual-format?
I assume that the DVD included will also be updated to modern standards, taking from the newer digital transfer instead of whatever existed before as well as updating the logos and branding to the more recent designs.

The BD will probably be untouched, though.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#157 Post by manicsounds » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:39 pm

"The 400 Blows" is becoming the "Evil Dead" of Criterion... Multiple reissues of the first film, but not much interest for a boxset for the entire series...
The Antoine Doinel box is still one of my favorite Criterion boxsets, even if the final film was a waste of time being a clipshow.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#158 Post by tenia » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:30 am

manicsounds wrote:"The 400 Blows" is becoming the "Evil Dead" of Criterion... Multiple reissues of the first film, but not much interest for a boxset for the entire series...
With Evil Dead, isn't the issue that each film have different studios for video rightholders ? In France, at least, the first one is through Sony, the 2nd one through Universal / Studio Canal, and the third one has been released through Aventi.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#159 Post by swo17 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:56 pm

I'm pretty OK with these repackagings given the collector's market for the original Blu-ray only releases. I figured it would be worth listing my Blu-ray for The 400 Blows if I could sell it for close to original MSRP and effectively get paid $20 to upgrade to the dual format release. And someone already bought it! (It helps that these titles go OOP for a little while before getting a dual format announcement.)

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#160 Post by Gregory » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:08 pm

I did the same thing.

I think the various releases of 400 Blows have been understandable, though a Doinel box-set upgrade would have been better as their next step, and it's not comparable to the annually retooled releases of genre titles pushed at a fanbase that will buy almost anything (my favorite example is the guy who admitted to having bought The Exorcist 17 times).

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#161 Post by movielocke » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:39 am

I've had the set for a couple years now, but I don't ever think I realized the sequels are all brisk 90 minute little films until I set down to work my way through it last week.

I've loved 400 Blows since I was a teenager, and I've seen it many times. As a teenager, I never found much to relate to in Doinel as a character, but I found the film as a whole so relatable to just the 'being' a teenage boy, it seemed to encapsulate effortlessly the pendulum swings between moments of innocence and experience, the tension of childhood and adulthood.

Antoine and Collette perfectly extended the 400 Blows. Doinel is as awkward in his late teens as he was in his early ones. And his penchant for grand gestures and overdoing it in the romantic department were experiences that rang true. Collette, like most of the women in the following films, is almost never a character, always being reduced to an object, but she managed to overcome the underwriting and really make you feel like she was more fully realized. And such a perfect ending to a flawless little short.

Stolen Kisses begins excellently enough but it seems to lose focus relatively quickly, the construction often feels haphazard and the film is loose and uneven. Claude Jane is radiant as Christine, but I was honestly surprised they wound up together, I was constantly frustrated throughout the film that her role was so underwritten, because she was doing so much with so little. The film successfully veers through various comic scenarios; it's never quite a comedy, nor a romance, and in the end Antoine doesn't seem all that different from the boy from Antoine and Collette. I want to know more of Christine's story, understand her motivations better for giving in to Antoine, because nothing in the film suggests he will succeed with her, other than the fact she's a girl he's moderately interested in and narrative convention demands it to happen. Frankly, Antoine is such an ass that I was somewhat disappointed in the ending.

Bed and Board is the best of the three sequel features, in part because Christine gains more agency here, even though she doesn't exist outside of Antoine's perspective. The film is a tremendously charming for the first half, though naturally permanently adolescent Antoine has to wreck things with a pointless affair. Antoine's realization that it is pointless is the highlight of the second half, though I was squirming through all his self-pitying rationalizations. Doinel never owns his own actions, he'll always have an excuse. I was a little sad Christine gave in to him again, and a little happy that he got an undeserved second chance. It's a rather incisively sweet and bitter take on marriage.

Love on the Run hardly feels like a film, it's almost like a handful of ideas in search of a film. And those ideas find the film, or films, and use those films to construct a new film. I imagine almost 25% of the film is from the preceding entries, including a large volume of Antoine and Colette. As a device it's interesting, and at first it works, because it feels restrained, like we're seeing a brief echo of a memory from Antoine or Christine for a few seconds. This sensation rather quickly dissapates as most of the flashbacks soon become extracts, seemingly of whole scenes, and they feel less like a memory and more like a remix of greatest hits. I groaned when Truffaut shoe horned in the great scene from the 400 Blows with Leaud talking to the psychiatrist, yikes, what an unneeded stretch that inclusion was. A handful of story threads, including one new thread, stitch together the flashbacks, like a framing device in a short story, and these are adequate, I suppose. Collette comes off the best, as she did in the short film, in part because she calls Antoine on his bullshit. By the end of the film you realize he hasn't changed one bit from Antoine and Collette, he's never grown up nor matured. And you realize the title is perfectly appropriate, because he hasn't grown a bit from the boy who ran and ran and ran at the end of the 400 Blows, he's always running away.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#162 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:43 am

I'd have to see Bed and Board again, but I always considered Stolen Kisses to be the other great feature in the series and would love to see that on Blu-Ray. Love on the Run is nice, but it feels really lightweight - I don't ever feel the urge to return to it.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#163 Post by ShellOilJunior » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:57 pm

hearthesilence wrote:I'd have to see Bed and Board again, but I always considered Stolen Kisses to be the other great feature in the series and would love to see that on Blu-Ray. Love on the Run is nice, but it feels really lightweight - I don't ever feel the urge to return to it.
I'm with you there. I enjoy the films immensely. They're lighter but quite easy to get through the set. I sold off my set several months back hoping for a blu-ray release.

As for 400 Blows: Not to start an argument but the dual format release is not an "upgrade" as it merely adds a DVD. Now if they'd add Antoine and Colette back to release then I'd reconsider my stance.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#164 Post by captveg » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:16 pm

Like movielocke, I like Bed & Board the most of the sequels, mainly for the reasons he laid out. I probably like Love on the Run more than it deserves, too, though it is clearly the weakest of the films. It does provide more apt closure to the character, but it's too bad it couldn't be another short film like Antoine & Collete to reduce the clip show feel.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#165 Post by jsteffe » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:57 pm

movielocke wrote: Love on the Run hardly feels like a film, it's almost like a handful of ideas in search of a film. And those ideas find the film, or films, and use those films to construct a new film. I imagine almost 25% of the film is from the preceding entries, including a large volume of Antoine and Colette. As a device it's interesting, and at first it works, because it feels restrained, like we're seeing a brief echo of a memory from Antoine or Christine for a few seconds. This sensation rather quickly dissipates as most of the flashbacks soon become extracts, seemingly of whole scenes, and they feel less like a memory and more like a remix of greatest hits. I groaned when Truffaut shoe horned in the great scene from the 400 Blows with Leaud talking to the psychiatrist, yikes, what an unneeded stretch that inclusion was. A handful of story threads, including one new thread, stitch together the flashbacks, like a framing device in a short story, and these are adequate, I suppose.
For me, Love on the Run is a genuinely bad film. The recycled footage "flashbacks" play out like one of those lazily constructed "remember when" episodes in The Golden Girls or some such sitcom, only topped with that artificially colored, well-past-its-sell-by-date maraschino cherry of a pop song. The first two films in the Doinel series are unqualified masterpieces - Les 400 coups and Antoine et Colette - but the series offers steadily diminishing returns in a way that clearly signals Truffaut's artistic decline as a director. To be fair, some of Truffaut's later non-Doinel films are still quite good even if they don't match the freshness and incisiveness of his 50s and 60s output.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#166 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:07 pm

Just out of curiosity, did Truffaut really want to do Love on the Run? Considering how much of it is recycled, I wonder if Truffaut just did it for commercial reasons, possibly as a quick and (relatively-speaking) easy way to help finance another film? He had just done The Green Room, one of his best and most interesting films and not the kind of thing a director coasting along would do.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#167 Post by Shrew » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:01 pm

In the supplements, it seems that he decided to do the film after running into Marie-France Pisier (Collette), and wanting to do something with her. She also seemed to suggest the idea, and is given a writing credit on the film. There's an extra on the disc where she and Truffaut are on a talk show, and she's definitely more open about discussing the film. It's not clear whose idea the form and content ended up being, but I think Truffaut was initially invested in the idea, but became frustrated by the results.

The clip show approach must have seemed considerably less lazy at the time, before the advent of home video. Audiences would have seen the older films years ago, and maybe 400 Blows more recently in repertory. And there moments where the flashbacks almost work, like the juxtaposition between Christine/Antoine in her parents' wine cellar now and back in Stolen Kisses. But watching them all within 1-2 weeks in boxset like this really makes Love on the Run unwatchable. (It doesn't help that the ripped-up photo--the film's best original idea, unless it's a reference to something I haven't seen--was lifted wholesale for Amelie, thus making it seem unintentionally old hat like the rest of it.)

But for me, the absolute worst segments have to be the re-enactments of the Dani scenes from Day for Night.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#168 Post by Gregory » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:57 pm

I haven't seen it since right after the Doinel box set came out and I barely remember anything in it even though I was really interested in all of its predecessors. I don't even remember the ripped-up photo. What I do remember is
jsteffe wrote:that artificially colored, well-past-its-sell-by-date maraschino cherry of a pop song.
I have a CD of the music from the Doinel films, all too short at less than 30 minutes. When the Love on the Run song comes on it the end, even though it isn't really that bad of a pop song, it always seems to befoul the air after I've just heard the lovely scores by Jean Constantin and Antoine Duhamel for the earlier films.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#169 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:53 am

Gregory wrote:
jsteffe wrote:that artificially colored, well-past-its-sell-by-date maraschino cherry of a pop song.
I have a CD of the music from the Doinel films, all too short at less than 30 minutes. When the Love on the Run song comes on it the end, even though it isn't really that bad of a pop song, it always seems to befoul the air after I've just heard the lovely scores by Jean Constantin and Antoine Duhamel for the earlier films.
I too have the same CD but actually find the song inoffensively kitschy and catchy, and like the runt of the litter Love on the Run brings out the softie in me. The comments about its validity in the pre-video age are also spot on. Like another songs says..
You've got to give a little, take a little,
and let your poor heart break a little.
That's the story of, that's the glory of love (on the run)

Caveat -I've not seen it for many years so a reviewing might make me equally vindictive.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#170 Post by movielocke » Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:44 pm

I just finished going through the substantial booklet. The interview with Truffaut about Love on the Run is quite interesting, he was certainly aware of the films being seen back to back--in fact a story about a Danish cinema programming all four Doinel films in a single day is a point he cites for motivating him to do Love on Run. He also says in the interview only about 18 minutes of the film is flashbacks, that seems about right, it's interesting that the experience of the film makes it feel like substantially more is flashbacks. He also wanted to use flashbacks to avoid it feeling like yet another sequel--he speaks down a bit on Bed and Board as being the only true sequel of the cycle, since he made it shortly on the heels of Stolen Kisses and decided to make it right after finishing Stolen Kisses. So he consciously wanted a very different 'break' with Love on the Run, he wanted it to feel discontinuous with the rest of the series, perhaps in the manner that Stolen Kisses is discontinuous with 400 Blows.

I also thought that Chris Fujiwara's essay on the film made me appreciate the film's efforts more, particularly in the way it seems to be suggesting that it is only in reconciling his internal self with his upbringing/mother that Antoine can finally begin to grow up--not that I think anyone thinks Antoine will manage that, but according to the essay, Truffaut seems to have made that leap in his own personal life.

I still think it's a failed film, overall, but my estimation has raised it a bit in understanding more where it's coming from. The supplements on the Love on the Run disc really do the film no favors, Truffaut seems disinterested and discouraged, he gives a much more robust defense of his methods in the film in print.

Additionally, I thought Kent Jones essay on Antoine and Collette was very enlightening and essential, he points out that Truffaut's personal life and first love at 20 are almost identical to the plot of the film. I didn't see that mentioned anywhere else, and it's interesting that in the rest of the booklet, starting with Antoine and Collette, Truffaut starts vigorously denying that he and Antoine are the same; because it's in Antoine and Collette that Antoine seems to be the closest to Truffaut in the entire cycle.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#171 Post by criterion10 » Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:47 pm

Having spent the past few days finally watching the Antoine Doinel films, among other Truffaut films, I have to say that the famous character's saga is a rather underwhelming one.

Antoine et Colette is an excellent follow-up to The 400 Blows, which I first saw when I was about ten or eleven years old and have seen on-and-off since (it's one of my all-time favorite films). The short easily could and probably should have been expanded to a feature, but I'll take what we're given. The film's greatest asset is portraying that young love and heartbreak that everyone experiences and developing Doinel's relationship with Colette in a meaningful and universal manner...

And this brings me to Stolen Kisses, which, despite being a great load of fun (I laughed out loud frequently), fails to properly set the stage for Antoine's and Christine's relationship. The detective and sleuthing bits are definitely enjoyable, but they do start to run out of steam by the time the shoe store segment develops, and this is when Truffaut should have really started to focus on the main characters, in a similar manner to his approach for Antoine et Colette. Unfortunately, Antoine's relationship with Fabienne Tabard (store manager's wife) is given primary treatment. Though, as a whole, the film still works quite well, and I'd even rank it among Truffaut's better pictures (at least among what I've seen so far).

Bed and Board falters similarly though even further by focusing more on the comedy and mildly amusing (at best) sketches, before bringing in a tired infidelity sub-plot that just didn't quite work for me. I didn't buy into Antoine's and Christine's marriage at all, and while I maybe be judging the film for what I think it should have been, as opposed to what it actually is, I think that's what should have been the focus of the film, meaning a deeper examination of their internal struggles, where the film isn't just dealt with in a trivial, comical manner, but rather a more serious portrait of a struggling marriage.

I think if Truffaut had taken this series in a similar direction/tone as the first two films, the end results would have been quite better (although, as I said, I do like Stolen Kisses on its own terms; it just fails to develop the main characters' relationship).

I'll spare everyone's time and pretend Love on the Run doesn't even exist (it's a catastro-fuck in every way).

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#172 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:34 pm

I think I had a similar reaction to the series, but to a greater degree. I was initially disappointed with Stolen Kisses, but it has grown on me quite a bit - it really does need to be taken on its own terms. As for the next two, still not a fan of either.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#173 Post by movielocke » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:59 am

The films continue to resonate, while none of the feature sequels are masterpieces, they are impressive for being such a methodical self loathing dissection of doinels failures, insecurities and blind spots. The whole cycle becomes sort of a tragic echo of Peter pan, a boy who never grew up.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#174 Post by mteller » Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:35 am

I quite like Love on the Run. Not as much as the others, but it has its merits. There's a more mature introspection to it. It certainly isn't the abomination it's made out to be.

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Re: 5, 185-188 The 400 Blows, The Adventures of Antoine Doin

#175 Post by criterion10 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:37 pm

mteller wrote:There's a more mature introspection to it.
There's a semblance of this buried beneath the film's clip show narrative. It's clear that Truffaut is trying to establish some sort of atonement for Doinel, having him reflect on his past mistakes and the characters in his life, which certainly would have made for an interesting film if developed properly.

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