Exploring the enduring French filming places of François Truffaut movie ‘The 400 Blows’


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In 1959, François Truffaut launched his debut function movie, The 400 Blows, a fragile coming-of-age story set within the coronary heart of Paris. Main the movie is Jean-Pierre Leaud as Antoine Doinel, a mischievous but misunderstood younger boy who constantly finds himself entering into hassle. 

The movie is a landmark of the French New Wave, possessing a lot of the logos that grew to become related to the interval. Shot on location with handheld cameras, the movie options freeze-frames and POV photographs, while the storyline is basically autobiographical and closely focuses on Antoine’s improvement as a personality. 

These strategies mix to make a massively private and transferring movie, depicting the struggles of a younger little one with each tenderness and humour. Leaud does a wonderful job at portraying Antoine, a lot in order that Truffaut determined to discover the lifetime of the character in 4 extra movies over the following 20 years that spanned marriage, fatherhood, infidelity and divorce. 

Location is central to Antoine’s story in The 400 Blows. We see the boy traverse the centre of Paris as he attends faculty, bunks off, steals a typewriter, attends the cinema along with his dad and mom, and rides behind a police van because the glowing lights of the town transfer farther from attain. 

The filming places of The 400 Blows:

The opening sequence

Eight monitoring photographs make up the opening sequence of the movie, which supplies us a POV shot of the Eiffel Tower from the angle of somebody – presumably Antoine – driving in a automobile, emphasising the grand scale of the town compared to the younger protagonist that we are going to shortly meet. Every shot reveals the Eiffel Tower barely out of grasp via the timber and behind buildings. Ultimately, it’s inside attain, towering above the digicam because the opening credit roll.

Antoine’s faculty

Though Antoine is consistently discovering himself in hassle at college, it is a crucial location within the movie – actually, it’s the place we’re launched to the protagonist. Though the inside photographs had been filmed elsewhere, the skin of the college can be proven, which is quantity 85 on Paris’ longest avenue, rue de Vaugirard. The constructing is the L’Ecole Method de Cinématographie et de Photographie, the second-ever movie faculty. 

Antoine’s flat 

One other key location for Antoine is his dwelling. Right here he lives along with his mom and stepfather, though he ceaselessly runs away to hang around along with his pal Rene. He additionally units up a Balzac shrine within the flat, which shortly catches hearth. Antoine’s handle is Place Gustave-Toudouze, which might be discovered within the Saint-Georges space. Right this moment, the house exterior of his flat is populated by cafes and outside seating. 

The streets of Paris

Many key scenes in The 400 Blows happen on the streets of Paris, together with the Champs-Élysées avenue. Antoine and Rene head into 52 Galerie Elysées-La Boétie to steal a typewriter, exiting from 9 rue La Boétie. The pair might be seen escaping into the Franklin D. Roosevelt metro station with their stolen items. We additionally see the buddies stroll down the steps of the enduring Parisian landmark, the Sacré-Cœur. 

Earlier within the movie, after Antoine spends the night time on the streets alone, he freshens up in a fountain, which is situated within the Sq. d’Estienne d’Orves gardens in L’Église de la Sainte-Trinité. 

The cinema 

The cinema is essential to Antoine, identical to Truffaut. Numerous movie references are sprinkled all through, akin to posters of Ingmar Bergman’s Summer season with Monika and Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush. Two cinemas are proven when the boys skip faculty: the Astor and the Cineac Italiens, who’re promoting a displaying of The Shanghai Story

In a while, Antoine bonds along with his dad and mom throughout a visit to the cinema. They go to the Gaumont Palace on 1 rue Caulaincourt, 18e. 

Rene’s Home

In line with the cinematic homages, Truffaut picks a really particular home to behave as Rene’s place of residence. It’s quantity sseven on the avenue Frochot, 9e, the place Jean Renoir lived. What makes this such a superb nod to the pioneer of poetic realism is the casting of Rene’s father – Georges Flamant, who performed Dédé in Renoir’s La Chienne in 1931. 

The seashore 

The movie involves an finish when Antoine is distributed to a juvenile detention centre in Honfleur, Normandy, following his ‘arrest’. Truffaut completely captures the isolation Antoine experiences by following him as he escapes the establishment, operating throughout the seashore in direction of the ocean. It’s a heartbreaking sequence that utilises a monitoring shot to accompany the boy. 

The seashore is on the coast of the Villers-sur-Mer, with the Les Vaches Noires cliff faces seen within the background. Sadly, the steps Antoine runs down are not there, so keen followers can not authentically recreate the scene. The seashore frames the movie’s closing picture – a freeze-frame of Antoine wanting uncertainly into the digicam, capturing the start of a brand new wave of cinema in a single shot. 

Exploring the enduring French filming places of François Truffaut movie ‘The 400 Blows’

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