In “400 Blows”, Antoine is a young boy who always seems to be getting in trouble and is always struggling to break free from the adults in his life and other confinements. The title translates to “live a wild life” and this was very true for Antoine. His teacher mistreats him and his mother is always rude or neglectful towards him. Antoine adventures out on his own into the tight streets of his city to get away from the constricting adults in his life. Eventually he is caught stealing a typewriter and sent to a juvenile delinquents camp. He quickly escapes and runs as far as he can get from the camp. The movie ends with Antoine on a wide open beach with only the ocean in front of him.
“400 Blows” used slow pans to go from scene to scene and create a greater sense of isolation felt by Antoine. In the first scene, after Antoine gets in trouble, the camera is through his eyes as he walks to the front of the room past his classmates. They are all staring at him and it creates a divide between Antoine and his peers right off the bat. Antoine is then shown in the school room all alone, where the camera pans outside the window to all of his classmates playing. This emphasized the division and isolation that Antoine feels.
Also, Antoine was placed in confined spaces throughout the entire film. He was always shown in the tight streets of the city, his small room, or the smaller jail cell he was in. This lead up to the final scene where Antoine finally was in the wide open beach area and the film showed and panned across the entire landscape, revealing his freedom.
In the final scene, Antoine is shown running for a very long time. There is no music being played. The only thing you can hear are his footsteps. I believe this to be a symbol of his mind. I really think he was misunderstood and was a very stressed out kid. The lack of noise and the long run was the director’s way of showing Antoine clearing his mind. I think the run was a very liberating experience and it showed when he finally got to the beach and away from all confinement.