This November we have a very special restored Truffaut series for our Modern Classics: Les Aventures d’Antoine Doinel.
“Antoine Doinel steals your heart, while annoying you endlessly. Clearly, he is not the heroic figure of the story, often he is too flawed and fallible for any such role; in short, he is human. This series of five feature films and one short has a special place in my heart: it is the cinematic masterpiece that has made me fall in love with film and its ability to portray humanity.”
— Isa, works at Kriterion since 2015 and proposed to program this series.
Although Jean-Luc Godard might be the universal face of the French New Wave, Francois Truffaut is arguably its most foundational contributor. His debut feature film The 400 Blows (1959) brought the Nouvelle Vague movement critical international acclaim which led to an environment in which many new filmmakers could flourish. The 400 Blows introduces the character Antoine Doinel, then a 13-year-old boy and Truffaut’s own cinematic counterpart. Through the following films, as Doinel gets older, we become intimately familiar with this character and thus in a way with Truffaut himself; his many-faceted struggles and victories in life and especially in love. According to Truffaut, “there is something in this character (Doinel, red.) that refuses to grow up.” The final film, Love On The Run (1979), is made not long before Truffaut’s own untimely passing at age 52, leaving both Doinel and Truffaut in an ever lasting limbo of youthfulness.
MONDAY 1 & FRIDAY 5 NOVEMBER | English subs
The 400 Blows (1959) traces 14-year-old Antoine Doinel’s odyssey through a life of aloof parents, oppressive teachers and petty crime. A loner on the brink of rebellion, Antoine is buoyed along the way by a touching friendship, a love of cinema, and the hope of escape.
MONDAY 8 & FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER | English subs
In our second week in the Modern Classics about The Life of Antoine Doinel, we are screening two films from Truffaut’s series with the character: Antoine & Colette from 1962 and Stolen Kisses from 1968. On the surface, Léaud’s Antoine Doinel existed simply as a biological and sociological continuation from tortured childhood in The 400 Blows, through anguished adolescence in Antoine & Colette, and then through muddled manhood in Stolen Kisses. But as Léaud’s Antoine matured, so did Truffaut.
MONDAY 15 & FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER | English subs
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 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.
22 & 26 NOVEMBER | English subs
In the final chapter of François Truffaut’s saga, we find Doinel, 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.