First off, this film is not an X rated adult film. Old, black and white, and supposedly famous for a freeze frame at the end of the film, 400 Blows was actually a very interesting film. This is mostly due to the seemingly timeless scenarios that are shown throughout the film. I found this to be the most interesting element of the film. It may not have been the the aim or intention when released in 1959, but it is definitely a welcomed aspect for 2016.
It begins lightly with kids in a classroom and the camera finally settling on the main character Antoine. The film shows each of about 20 different kids all acting in a unique manner. We as the viewers see the childish hijinks of the time and the environment that Antoine is spending most of his time in. Soon after the film rolls on to the home of Antoine and we find out that he is a bit poorer and that home doesn’t offer much more peace than the school does. The child is rushed around from one thing to another his whole day.
As the film progresses, we learn of what seems to be regular fighting within the household among Antoine’s parents and the larger world that this family is living in. The city is explored showing the daily life of the French and all the going ons about town. It becomes clear that this world is more playful and exciting to Antoine being that he skips school with a friend to screw around in it and later run away from home within it. He is soon among his family again and getting in trouble for stealing when he gets shipped off to a military school. This of course doesn’t straighten him out so he runs away from there too
He runs all the way till he hits the ocean. There is no where else to run beyond that and this is when he seems to realize that there is no escape. His only real choice is to conform to the world he has been brought up in. And that is going to involve following rules as a kid and as an adult. The movie ends somewhat abruptly here with the freeze frame which works well being open ended. It gives the viewer a chance to really analyze the story and decide for themselves what may happen to the boy from that point on.