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The 400 Blows (Truffaut 1959)
Director: François Truffaut
Writer: François Truffaut, Marcel Moussy
Starring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier
Language: French

The 400 Blows
part of the French New Wave film movement that transformed the way movie stories were portrayed on the screen.

This is a very balanced film that never preaches or tries to make a case by focusing purely on a one sided issue. I mean in one way the troubled kid has problems which are a result of his dysfunctional family, especially his mother who never wanted him and shipped off to live with the relatives as soon as she could. Then again much of the problems the teen faces comes from his own dumb ass behavior. He does a lot of really stupid stunts and screws up constantly. He's not overly sympathetic, yet he's very real and believable.

Oh, I always thought the 400 Blows referred to some brutal beatings the kid had endured. That's not what the title means, I read that properly translated from French it means 400 pranks...referring to all the dumb stunts the kid ends up pulling.

So what does the film have to say? At the end we see the boy running free towards the ocean, of course he's not really free until he starts shaping up.