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

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

#1 Post by Martha » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:38 pm

The Adventures of Antoine Doinel

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The release of François Truffaut's The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups) in 1959 shook world cinema to its foundations. The now-classic portrait of troubled adolescence introduced a major new director in the cinematic landscape and was an inaugural gesture of the revolutionary French New Wave. But The 400 Blows did not only introduce the world to its precocious director, it also unveiled his indelible creation: Antoine Doinel. Initially patterned closely after Truffaut himself, the Doinel character (played by the irrepressible and iconic Jean-Pierre Léaud) reappeared in four subsequent films that knowingly portrayed his myriad frustrations and romantic entanglements from his stormy teens through marriage, children, divorce, and adulthood. With The Adventures of Antoine Doinel, Criterion is proud to present Truffaut's celebrated saga in its entirety: the feature films The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run, and the 1962 short subject, Antoine and Colette, in a special edition five-disc box set.

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The 400 Blows

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François Truffaut's first feature, The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups), is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut's life-long cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), The 400 Blows sensitively recreates the trials of Truffaut's own difficult childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, petty crime, and a friendship that would last a lifetime. The film marks Truffaut's passage from leading critic of the French New Wave to his emergence as one of Europe's most brilliant auteurs.

Three years after The 400 Blows took the world by storm, François Truffaut returned with the second chapter in the ongoing saga of romantic ne'er-do-well Antoine Doinel, Antoine and Colette. Originally appearing in the international omnibus film Love at Twenty, this nimble short subject is classic Truffaut, depicting a teenage Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) living on his own and pursuing his first love affair, initiating a lifelong career of quixotic dreams and amorous restlessness.

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Stolen Kisses

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Jean-Pierre Léaud returns in the delightful Stolen Kisses, the third installment in the Antoine Doinel series. It is now 1968, and the mischievous and perpetually love-struck Doinel has been dishonorably discharged from the army and released onto the streets of Paris, where he stumbles into the unlikely profession of private detective and embarks on a series of misadventures. Whimsical, nostalgic, and irrepressibly romantic, Stolen Kisses is Truffaut's timeless ode to the passion and impetuosity of youth.

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Bed and Board

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The fourth installment in François Truffaut's chronicle of the ardent, anachronistic Antoine Doinel, Bed and Board plunges his hapless creation once again into crisis. Expecting his first child and still struggling to find steady employment, Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) involves himself in a relationship with a beautiful Japanese woman that threatens to destroy his marriage. Lightly comic, with a touch of the burlesque, Bed and Board is a bittersweet look at the travails of young married life and the fine line between adolescence and adulthood.

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Love on the Run

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Antoine Doinel strikes again! In the final chapter of François Truffaut's saga, we find Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), now in his thirties, convivially concluding his marriage, enjoying moderate success as a novelist, and clinging to his romantic fantasies. The newly single Doinel finds a new object of his affections in Sabine, a record store salesgirl whom he pursues with the fervid belief that without love, one is nothing. Along the way, he renews his acquaintance with previous loves and confronts his own chaotic past. In Love on the Run, Antoine Doinel is still in love and because he's still in love, he's still alive.

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Disc Features

- New digital transfers of all films, enhanced for widescreen televisions
- Truffaut’s early short film, Les mistons
- Audio commentary for Les mistons by assistant director and future co-writer Claude de Givray
- Audio/visual “primer” for Les mistons by film historian Serge Toubiana
- Working with François Truffaut: Claude de Givray and Bernard Revon, An exclusive re-edited version of a 1986 interview with Truffaut co-writers Claude de Givray and Bernard Revon, originally conducted for Rainer Gansera’s documentary Arbeiten mit François Truffaut
- Excerpt from the rare documentary François Truffaut (1961) featuring Truffaut discussing his influences and beginnings, along with Les mistons and The 400 Blows
- Interview from the 1981 French TV show Champ contre champ in which Truffaut discusses Jean-Pierre Léaud, and the challenges of creating films that are intensely personal, yet popular in appeal
- Promotional art gallery for The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board and Love on the Run
- Two audio commentaries for The 400 Blows: one by cinema professor Brian Stonehill and another by lifelong friend of Truffaut, Robert Lachenay
- Rare audition footage of The 400 Blows stars Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick Auffay and Richard Kanayan
- Newsreel footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud in Cannes for the showing of The 400 Blows
- Excerpt from a French TV program with Truffaut discussing his youth, critical writings, and the origins of Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows and Antoine and Colette
- Television interview with Truffaut about the global financial reception of The 400 Blows and his own critical impression of the film
- Theatrical trailers for The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run
- Introduction to Stolen Kisses by film historian Serge Toubiana
- Excerpt from the TV show Cinéastes de notre temps: François Truffaut, dix ans, dix films in which Truffaut discusses his vision of the Doinel cycle, and the complex relationship between Doinel and actor Jean-Pierre Léaud
- Archival newsreel footage of the “Langlois Affair,” documenting protests by Truffaut and other French film industry luminaries against the removal of Cinémathèque française director Henri Langlois
-Promotional spot featuring Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut appealing for public support of Henri Langlois
- Newsreel footage of Truffaut’s impassioned rally to shut down the 1968 Cannes Film Festival in support of striking students and workers
- Rare behind-the-scenes footage with Truffaut at work on the Bed and Board set, and being interviewed along with actress Claude Jade
- Rare television interview with Jean-Pierre Léaud discussing his feelings about Truffaut and Antoine Doinel, and his thoughts about "ending" the series
- Excerpt from the 1972 documentary Approches du cinéma: François Truffaut ou la nouvelle vague, in which Truffaut addresses the complexities of Antoine Doinel
- Rare television interview excerpt of Truffaut and actress/co-writer Marie-France Pisier discussing their working styles and their feelings about Love on the Run
- Excerpt from the 1980 TV show Cinescope in which Truffaut addresses his misgivings about his finale to the Doinel series, and illuminates his feelings about Jean-Pierre Léaud and Antoine Doinel
-New and improved subtitle translation for all films

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5 The 400 Blows

#2 Post by denti alligator » Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:50 pm

The 400 Blows

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Francois Truffaut's first feature, The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups), is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut's life-long cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), The 400 Blows sensitively recreates the trials of Truffaut's own difficult childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, petty crime, and a friendship that would last a lifetime. The film marks Truffaut's passage from leading critic of the French New Wave to his emergence as one of Europe's most brilliant auteurs.

Disc Features

- New digital transfer of The 400 Blows, enhanced for widescreen televisions
- New digital transfer of Antoine and Colette (BOX-SET VERSION ONLY)
- Two audio commentaries: one by cinema professor Brian Stonehill and another by François Truffaut’s lifelong friend Robert Lachenay
- Rare audition footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick Auffay, and Richard Kanayan
- Newsreel footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud in Cannes for the showing of The 400 Blows
- Excerpt from a French TV program with Truffaut discussing his youth, critical writings, and the origins of Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows and Antoine and Colette
- Television interview with Truffaut about the global reception of The 400 Blows and his own critical impression of the film
- Theatrical trailer for The 400 Blows
- New and improved English subtitle translations

Original DVD:
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New DVD:
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Blu-ray:
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#3 Post by Martha » Thu Jan 20, 2005 7:18 am

denti alligator wrote:What are the chances of Criterion re-releasing this as a single-film title as well as as part of the box? I'd buy spine #5 but am wary of shelling out the big bucks for the other films.

I'm guessing they're pretty slim. Your best bet is probably to find someone who is willing to break up their set, either in the trading forum here or on ebay.

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#4 Post by Gregory » Thu Jan 20, 2005 3:18 pm

My unsolicited opinion: I'm glad I have the whole set. Bed and Board and Love on the Run don't live up to the earlier films, but it's interesting to watch the whole run and think about what Truffaut was trying to do in the later films and why it didn't work.
Even aside from the last two, I believe most people who really value 400 Blows will also want to have "Les Mistons," Stolen Kisses, the supplements disc, and the booklet. All that is well worth the price of the set, in my opinion.

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#5 Post by J M Powell » Thu Jan 20, 2005 3:36 pm

Gregory wrote:Even aside from the last two, I believe most people who really value 400 Blows will also want to have "Les Mistons," Stolen Kisses, the supplements disc, and the booklet. All that is well worth the price of the set, in my opinion.

And "Antoine et Colette", which may well be the best film of the lot.

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#6 Post by Gregory » Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:57 am

I didn't mention Antoine et Colette because it's already on the same disc as 400 Blows, whereas I was trying to make a case for having the rest of the set, too. I agree that it's quite the excellent short film.

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#7 Post by FilmFanSea » Sun Jan 23, 2005 12:37 am

Has anyone actually seen the box set 400 Blows and can comment on whether the transfer is so much better than the Tartan and Kino DVD releases ? It seems to me that pre 1970s' black and white film stock is not really a medium which can be improved very much in a Home Video format so the single DVD release of the only disc worth having in the Antoine series could just be the gold at the end of that rainbow.

I think there are many Criterionphiles who would dispute your assertion that there is little difference between competing transfers of pre-1970s B&W films. Also, Kino did not release The 400 Blows; Fox Lorber did. Criterion's remaster is anamorphically enhanced & uses an HD master (which Fox Lorber's does not). I have not seen the Tartan, but the "Doinel" box Criterion shows improvement over the Fox Lorber.

As far as supplements go, the Doinel box set is one of Criterion's crowning achievements. Even if you despise Love on the Run (and, to a lesser degree, Bed and Board) as much as I do, the box set is still a great set well worth owning.

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#8 Post by denti alligator » Sun Jan 23, 2005 12:44 am

Even if you despise Love on the Run (and, to a lesser degree, Bed and Board) as much as I do, the box set is still a great set well worth owning.

What's to "despise" about these? I haven't seen them, but am tempted by the box set. What am I getting myself into with these two, then?

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#9 Post by cdnchris » Sun Jan 23, 2005 1:00 am

denti alligator wrote:What's to "despise" about these? I haven't seen them, but am tempted by the box set. What am I getting myself into with these two, then?

While I know it has its defenders, Love on the Run plays like a clip episode and is just not that interesting (the clips are more interesting than the central story.) I think it's just a stupid movie. I myself don't really have anything against Bed and Board. It's just after The 400 Blows, Antoine and Colette and Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board kind of comes off fairly mediocre. It's funny and fun, but never really grabbed me like the three others did.

To warn you, Stolen Kisses and Bed and Board are very different from 400 Blows and Antoine and Colette. I'd classify them more as comedies. I don't know what the hell Love on the Run is supposed to be.

The set is definitely worth a shot I think. The transfer on 400 Blows kicks ass (much better than the first printing) and the supplements on that disc are awesome (the French commentary, as a bonus, is subtitled now). And then the supplements throughout the rest of the set are great. I'd say it's worth taking a chance on.

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#10 Post by FilmFanSea » Sun Jan 23, 2005 1:05 am

For me, The 400 Blows is a sublime film, full of deep insights about a young man's coming of age. In my opinion, Truffaut progressively took the sequels in the wrong direction. I find Antoine at Colette and Stolen Kisses enjoyable, but after that, Truffaut got lazy. He increasingly relied on L�aud's considerable charm and turned the last two films into frothy situation comedies � la Barefoot in the Park or a French Love, American Style. To me, they are embarassing trifles, and unworthy of their kinship with the preceding films. Love on the Run is full of lazy flashbacks, in a lame attempt to recapitulate the whole series.

If you believe "the child is the father of the man," you may be disappointed with the adult version of Antoine Doinel, that adolescent with a sensitivity beyond his years in The 400 Blows. I still treasure the box set, but I can't help but think that Truffaut dropped the ball along the way.

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#11 Post by bunuelian » Sun Jan 23, 2005 3:16 am

I can't help but feel that the people recommending this set are all doing so while also essentially saying that at least half the content is worthless crap. I've seen Stolen Kisses and can't say I'd ever want to watch it again, so I guess I stick with my sub-par 400 Blows and hope Criterion puts out that film by itself sometime in the future (maybe after the box set goes OOP?).

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#12 Post by cdnchris » Sun Jan 23, 2005 11:12 am

I'm recommending it because I think the set is one of their best sets. Other than Love on the Run, I enjoyed everything on it and (yet again, other than Love on the Run) I've watched the films multiple times (even Bed and Board) and have even done so with the supplements as well. I thought the set was well worth it. Love on the Run is craptastic, but I thought the supplements more than made up for it. Half the set is definitely not crap. Maybe 15% of it is. :)

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#13 Post by BWilson » Sun Jan 23, 2005 5:57 pm

Yeah, I'd say 15-20% crap tops. I look at this release as really being a 400 Blows 5-disc box set. For those that love 400 Blows (and most do) there are accompanying shorts and features that rate from 4 star masterpieces to 1 star flops, but they all relate to the milestone film central to the set. In a way no special edition of 400 Blows would be complete without the sequels.

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#14 Post by javelin » Sun Jan 23, 2005 7:06 pm

I think Bed & Board is (as somewhat alluded to above) a situational-rom/com. But a great one. It's a strange little film about the dwindling of measurable love in a marriage. I think the films change because Doinel himself changes. That said, Love on the Run is - agreed - a pastiche of sorts. But it sums up the whole story nicely, I think.

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#15 Post by denti alligator » Sun Jan 23, 2005 8:17 pm

$100 for a special edition of 400 Blows is a lot, but when you put it that way ("5-DVD special edition of 400 Blows"), it does sound like a much better package than when you say sometihing like "40% shite," or (sorry- can't resist this) "40.0% blows!"

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#16 Post by starmanof51 » Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:36 pm

I really enjoyed Kenny's commentary for the Fox Lorber release on this and on Jules and Jim. I wish he'd do more.

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#17 Post by artfilmfan » Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:50 pm

If you buy the Fox Lorber release, make sure you don't make "the mistake" of watching the Criterion release of The 400 Blows from the Doinel boxset (should you ever have access to it). Once you watch the Criterion release, there is no going back to the Fox Lorber. You will be spoiled by the beautiful transfer of the Criterion release. This Criterion version is one of the most beautiful B&W films in the Collection. I can think of only two other B&W films in the Collection (L'Avventura and Hiroshima, Mon Amour) that are as beautiful as this.

The French (MK2 editions) release is almost as beautiful as the Criterion. However, I prefer the subtitles on the Criterion.

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#18 Post by stockton » Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:33 pm

artfilmfan wrote:If you buy the Fox Lorber release, make sure you don't make "the mistake" of watching the Criterion release.

I just saw this for the first time, and it was the Fox Lorber disc (netflix :x). artfilmfan is right - the transfer is not the best, but it's not bad. The film is still really beautiful. This was my first exposure to Truffaut (and French new wave in general) and i can't wait to see the Criterion disc...

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#19 Post by Narshty » Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:09 pm

Back cover at DVD Empire

By all appearances, it's the same disc as the Doinel boxset, sans Antoine and Colette. No mention of Wellspring on the back either - just MK2 as the licensor.

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#20 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:50 pm

What a shame, Antoine and Colette was worth the price of the doinel boxset alone. it's my favorite criterion release.

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#21 Post by Narshty » Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:51 pm

The Truffaut short or the boxset?

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#22 Post by Gigi M. » Fri May 12, 2006 4:11 pm

Review over at DVDTalk

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#23 Post by teddyleevin » Tue May 01, 2007 5:45 pm

My theater arts class (10th-12th graders) is making a murder mystery film. One of the scenes involves an interview. For this scene, I was inspired by the great interview scene in The 400 Blows for its acting, writing, and overall style. So, I brought my trusty DVD in and we watched the scene. At first, they didn't want to. I'm one of the few people in my school that can take subs or B&W so there were a lot of groans. However, my class really liked the scene. They thought that it was funny and a good inspiration for our film's interviews. We decided that after we finish our movie, we would watch all of The 400 Blows. Never in my life did I ever think I could get an entire high school class to want to see this movie, or any foreign film. So, just being able to share one of my favorite movies with my fellow students makes me feel like I'm doing something good for the youth of today. :D

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#24 Post by Matt » Tue May 01, 2007 6:10 pm

Good for you! I guess I'm a little surprised that "youngsters" would be put off by subtitles (half of every episode of "Heroes" and the occasional episode of "Lost" are subtitled, but then every article I read sez the kids only watch the YouTubes now) and black and white (as much a common stylistic choice for films and commercials as anything else), but plus ça change...

EDIT: subtitle discussion moved here.

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#25 Post by denti alligator » Fri May 18, 2007 6:58 pm

So does this release come with Antoine and Colette or not? From the above, it looks like no. From Criterion's web site, it looks like yes.

Special Features

New digital transfers of The 400 Blows and Antoine and Colette, enhanced for widescreen televisions

Two audio commentaries for The 400 Blows: one by cinema professor Brian Stonehill and another by lifelong friend of Truffaut, Robert Lachenay

Rare audition footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick Auffay and Richard Kanayan

Newsreel footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud in Cannes for the showing of The 400 Blows
Excerpt from a French TV program with Truffaut discussing his youth, critical writings, and the origins of Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows and Antoine and Colette

Television interview with Truffaut about the global financial reception of The 400 Blows and his own critical impression of the film

Theatrical trailer for The 400 Blows

New and improved English subtitle translations

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