There are, on occasions, films that come along that I find myself feeling inadequate when it comes to writing a review. For a multitude of reasons, I find myself at a loss for words...unable to express my ideas, thoughts, feelings, opinions or simply my film-going experience. Francois Truffaut's 1959 film "The 400 Blows" is such a film.
"The 400 Blows" deals, essentially with the life of Antoine, a 14-year-old boy who falls through the cracks of society through abuse and neglect.
Truffaut's natural direction is a master stroke for this film as it intrigues, moves and emotes without histrionics or the intense drama that often accompanies such a film. Antoine is, in fact, a normal child in most ways...he is neither a complete angel or a total brat. He is a child...a normal child trying to develop without the parental support and guidance essential to the process.
The film details, tragically, the painful loss of childhood and is one of Truffaut's most personal films. It is enveloped in stunningly beautiful cinematography, smart/essential direction and poignant performances from the entire cast.
I truly wish I could sit here and write this incredible, intellectual essay about this film. I can't...I simply can't. It moved me too much to approach it from an intellectual or even a truly critical standpoint. It is not, essentially a "perfect" film BUT it is, without fail, a mind-blowing and essential film. Nearly 50 years later, "The 400 Blows" remains relevant to a world that still mistreats its children and still struggles to make sure that everyone has a place to belong.