Les Quatre Cents Coups

Les Quatre Cents Coups (trans. The Four Hundred Blows or ‘Raising Hell’) tells of a Parisian youth’s slow spiral into juvenile crime during the 1950s. Directed by one of the Nouvelle Vague‘s leading auteurs François Truffaut, it is one of the movement’s finest films.

I first saw it last year, during its fiftieth anniversary re-release. Truffaut’s freewheeling, Nouvelle Vague-style narrative – an unflinching, clinical examination of the French state school and criminal justice systems interspersed with beautiful, hilarious, poignant moments and its shocking dénouement – remains as fresh, modern and powerful as it did on its initial release in 1959.

It’s also a beautiful homage to La Ville-Lumière of the 1950s.


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