“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.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Francois Truffaut Films
- French Films
- Marital Problems
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.
- Foreign Gem
- Important Director
One thought on “Bed and Board (1970)”
Truffaut is something of a special case for this particular ff.
Meaning, with the exception of ‘The 400 Blows’, I don’t really see much worth in the Doinel series.
I was introduced to Truffaut’s work early (at 12) and was rather impressed by ‘400…’, ‘Shoot the Piano Player’ and (esp.) ‘Jules and Jim’ (which had a profound effect on me). So I dutifully followed his films, seeing everything upon release.
I recall finding it a chore to sit through the subsequent Doinel films. Not only did they not have any of the power of Truffaut’s early work…I also found them overly precious.
Of course, the main problem for me personally is that I don’t find Leaud appealing as an adult actor. He has limited range, comes across as shallow – and also has one of the most annoying hair styles in film history (even *he* can’t seem to keep the look under control). …OK, the hair thing is neither here nor there, but it does accent what I find unsettling about this self-centered and ultimately uninteresting character. Why do I want to follow his life over a series of films?!
[Sidebar re: Hiroko: her Japanese dialogue with her roommate, when she is trying to get rid of her in order to entertain Leaud, is not translated in English. If it had been, it would be better realized just how much of a bitch she is.]
I will no doubt watch the other films in the series again, out of sequence now (though ‘B&B’ does stand well enough on its own). But I am not at all looking forward to going back.
I will say ‘B&B’ is beautifully shot by Almendros (natch!), and the film does have the odd amusing moment along the way.
But, overall, Truffaut begins to pick up again in the eyes of this ff once he gets beyond this side-step period in his film career.