THE LITTLE THIEF (Claude Miller, 1988)

Janine Castang, who is sixteen in 1950 in La petite voleuse, began as Antoine Doinel’s companion in crime and flight from juvenile delinquent confinement, but François Truffaut, feeling he had enough on his hands with Jean-Pierre Léaud’s Antoine, decided to drop her character from his monumental The 400 Blows (1959). Truffaut would come back to […]

TWO IN THE WAVE (Emmanuel Laurent, 2010)

Its journalistic approach helps make Emmanuel Laurent’s documentary about the rise and demise of François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard’s friendship, Deux de la Vague, dry as dust; nor is it helped by frequent inserts of young French actress Isild Le Besco reading clippings and such to underscore the momentous, somewhat academic history that the bleeding […]

THE WILD CHILD (François Truffaut, 1969)

If, like me, you enjoy some of the matter of The Miracle Worker (Arthur Penn, 1962) but find its Broadway/Hollywood treatment ridiculously bug-eyed and melodramatic, you may find more rewarding refuge in L’enfant sauvage (best film, French critics), which François Truffaut directed from his and Jean Gruault’s script based on Jean Itard’s Mémoires et rapport […]

GREAT EXPECTATIONS (David Lean, 1946)

The first stretch of Great Expectations, prior to the one year jump-ahead, may be the finest passage in David Lean’s œuvre, principally for its conjoining of his splendid evocation of Pip’s anxious orphaned boyhood and Guy Green’s haunting, crisp, gray (and Oscar-winning) black-and-white cinematography. Especially wonderful, and gorgeous, is Pip’s secret return to the fog-drenched […]

BED AND BOARD (François Truffaut, 1970)

There are at least two opposite ways to consider the fourth film in François Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical Antoine Doinel cycle, Domicile conjugal. If we take one view, Antoine (once again, and necessarily, Jean-Pierre Léaud) disintegrates into a bourgeois groove of complacency that completes the undoing of the rambunctious personality he exhibited in his mid-teens in The […]