1959 (MIFF 2014)

Director: François Truffaut

"One of the most tender and loving depictions of childhood in cinema." – Senses of Cinema

In 1959, a 27-year-old French film critic by the name of François Truffaut made his first full-length film: a warm, bittersweet tale of a marginalised, misunderstood adolescent whose inability to adhere to society's confines sees him pegged as a troublemaker.

One of the cornerstones of the French New Wave, a film that helped free mainstream art cinema from self-imposed stagnation, The 400 Blows remains a resonant depiction of rebellion and solitude. It also introduced the world to a then-teenaged Jean-Pierre Léaud, whose portrayal of youthful melancholy reflected the malaise of a generation and paved the way for a brilliant acting career.

Winner of the Best Director prize at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival.

"One of the most intensely touching stories ever made about a young adolescent." – Roger Ebert

For further information on The 400 Blows, read the Senses of Cinema dossier.

See also...


Francois Truffaut first came to the attention of the filmworld and filmgoing public when, in his first feature, he told the story of the childhood and early adolescence of Antoine Doinel (The 400 Blow... More »


The Man Who Loved Women is the second film of François Truffaut to be presented at this year's festival. It demonstrates a quite different aspect of the directorial personality of this most remarkable... More »

Antoine and Colette

"Among the most beautiful things Truffaut ever committed to film." – Criterion Collection ... Three years after the conclusion of The 400 Blows, Antoine Doinel has found freedom and employment at a re... More »

Les Mistons

Les Mistons recalls the doings of five French boys during one summer when their childhood comes to an end and they stumble clumsily into adolescence. Baffled by this change, they express their bewilde... More »

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