400 Blows

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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.

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2 thoughts on “400 Blows

  1. I had no idea about the title translating to “live a wild life” ! That is so interesting. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the story of Antoine, and his journey through his rebellious childhood. The part when you wrote the final silent scene to be a symbol of his mind. And how he was misunderstood and was a very stressed out kid, and how it was director’s way of showing Antoine clearing his mind, really put that scene in perspective to me! Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Great blog post drowlan2! I didn’t know that the title translated to “live a wild life” but it is very appropriate. You sum of the plot very well. Did you like how the director ended the film? Do you think there should have been more resolution or it was good the way it is? Thanks for sharing, looking forward to your response!

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