Stolen Kisses

Dir: Francois Truffaut
1968
Francois Truffaut’s sequel–if you discount the short made in between–to “The 400 Blows”,
following the young adulthood of Antoine Doniel (Jean-Pierre Leaud), as he goes from crummy job to crummy job (hotel night clerk, detective (!), shoe salesman, TV repairman), falling in and out of love, and getting into a little bit of trouble.
It’s an incredibly light film, surprising as it was made during May 1968, as the Nouvelle Vague protested the Langlois affair and shut down Cannes. In the Criterion Collection DVD extras, the film is said to almost have been made as a way to relax from the political pressures of that year, with filming happening in a scattershot fashion with loads of improv.
The various detectives in the film (in typical trenchcoat, and always shadowing someone) are classic American Noir (Truffaut had just finished his adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s The Bride Wore Black before this film) rendered comical by their transplanting into French society. The young, sometimes girlfriend of Antoine, Christine (Claude Jade), is tailed all the way through the movie, only to find the detective confessing his love for her at the end in a strange closing scene. Hey, it’s France, vive l’amour!

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