“You have to be patient! All men are children.”
Inveterate nonconformist Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) settles into married life with Christine (Claude Jade), and becomes a father. But when he finds himself attracted to a Japanese woman (Mademoiselle Hiroko) he meets at work, his marriage is in jeopardy.
Response to Peary’s Review:
The fourth installment in Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series is, as Peary notes, “very amusing, with a lot of humor” — but also surprisingly melancholy. Claude Jade (playing Doinel’s wife, Christine) finally emerges as a complex character in this film — we believe in her character’s growth from fun-loving teenager to loyal housewife and mother, and feel for her when Doinel knowingly harms their relationship. Because Truffaut chooses to frame Doinel’s affair in a humorous light, it’s genuinely amusing to watch (there are several hilarious moments involving the inscrutable Mademoiselle Hiroko); but this approach fails to acknowledge the seriousness of Doinel’s lapse in judgment. Bed and Board is a satisfying, enjoyable film in many ways, but frustrating as well, with the ending too neatly a figment of Truffaut’s wishful thinking about women and their tolerance for immature men.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Claude Jade’s appealing performance as Christine
- Nestor Almendros’ cinematography
- Several amusing ongoing gags — such as the strange man who intrigues his neighbors until they discover his true identity on T.V. one night
- Antoine’s clever plan to remind Christine’s client to pay for her daughter’s violin lesson
- A disturbing yet oddly lighthearted look at a new marriage on the rocks
- Christine’s wordless response when she finds out that Antoine is having an affair
- Antoine Duhamel’s score
Yes, as another enjoyable episode in the “must see” Antoine Doinel series.