“To make love is a way of compensating for death, to prove that you exist.”
Newly discharged from the army, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) heads to the home of his would-be sweetheart (Claude Jade), finds work as a private investigator, and falls for an older woman (Delphine Seyrig).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Delphine Seyrig Films
- Detectives and Private Eyes
- Francois Truffaut Films
- French Films
- Obsessive Love
- Romantic Comedy
Response to Peary’s Review:
Truffaut’s first full-length sequel to The 400 Blows was this “witty, sad, insightful meditation” on subjects as diverse as “passion, courtship, dishonesty, sex, conquest, and commitment”. As Peary notes, there are “countless wonderful moments” throughout the film, which “[relies] heavily on improvisation”, and showcases the theme (one of Truffaut’s favorites) that when one person is ready for love and commitment, the other usually isn’t. Unlike in the later Antoine Doinel films, Doinel’s youthful flitting from one bizarre job to the next — and one obsessive love to the next — is amusing rather than sad, and seems right-on. His work as an undercover agent (what an ideal job!) fulfills the longing most film fanatics have to slip into someone else’s life unnoticed, and his attraction to an “older woman” (Seyrig) rings true as well. The film ends on a surprisingly satisfying note, making one long to know what happens next; fortunately, one can satisfy this itch immediately by watching Bed and Board (1970).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An amusing look at the fickleness of desire
- Delphine Seyrig as Antoine’s “exceptional” love interest
- Effective use of Paris streets
- The clever, seemingly improvised script
Yes, as a fine follow-up to The 400 Blows.
- Foreign Gem
- Important Director