Les Quatre Cents Coups
Jean-Pierre Léaud is Antoine, a tearaway kid perpetually in trouble both in school and at home: his difficult family circumstances are only revealed at the very end - a cool narrative coup. Antoine resolves to leave home and see life for himself eventually ending up in reform school.
The film looks superb and Antoine's heartbreakingly open face is like Truffaut's monochrome Paris: beautiful, tough, innocent and yet worldly. One of the great movies about childhood, you will never forget Léaud’s extraordinary central performance or the film’s remarkable coda. Perhaps Truffaut’s best film – it was also his first and what a startling and vigorous debut it is.