Overall | The 400 Blows (Quatre Cents Coups, Les) (1959) | Stolen Kisses (Baisers volés) (1968) | Bed and Board (Domicile conjugal) (1970) | Love on the Run (L'Amour en fuite) (1979)

The Adventures of Antoine Doinel (Truffaut Collection) (1959)

The Adventures of Antoine Doinel (Truffaut Collection) (1959)

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Released 2-Jul-2007

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Overall Package

François Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical character of Antoine Doinel appeared in 5 films produced between 1959 and 1979. The series of films stemmed from Truffaut’s life and were the result of the legendary partnership and friendship between Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Léaud.

The Adventures of Antoine Doinel are more then just films; they are explorations of life, love and other catastrophes. The character of Doinel through Léaud’s performance is vibrant and charming – the character didn’t walk – he waltzed though life. The late Claude Jade had a wonderful screen presence, her character was dubbed Peggy Proper by the character of Doinel but Jade brought sincerity and style to her character. Many characters appeared through the series and disappeared from Doinel’s life but all were memorable as they played a part in shaping Doinel’s future.

Truffaut, like his alter-ego seemingly went with the flow – with each film the director and star declared each film would be the last, but the series would only end twenty years after Les Quatre Cents Coups, which remains the most acclaimed and celebrated film of the series.

Each timeless film guides us thorough the failures and successes of the impetuous character of Antoine Doinel and with each film we become more involved with the characters and learn life is what you make it.

The films are a wonderful celebration of love, life and family and Truffaut left cineastes with a beautiful gift – as his passion for cinema will continue to be discovered and loved by generations to come.

Au revoir Antoine Doinel, Merci Monsieur Truffaut

The local 4 disc set DVD release of The Adventures of Antoine Doinel series of films are housed with a booklet featuring an essay by Stuart Braun. The DVD titles in this collection have previously been released as individual DVD releases by Umbrella Entertainment.

The best release of The Adventures of Antoine Doinel series is from The Criterion Collection.

The boxset features the following special features and specifications over 5 discs:

The R2 France Mk2 boxset features a similar set of extras but the extras do not include English subtitles.

Please note the local release features the same transfers as the Mk2 releases.

The best release is the Region 0 Criterion Boxset which retails for around $100 (AU) dollars.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The 400 Blows (Quatre Cents Coups, Les) (1959) | Stolen Kisses (Baisers volés) (1968) | Bed and Board (Domicile conjugal) (1970) | Love on the Run (L'Amour en fuite) (1979)

The 400 Blows (Quatre Cents Coups, Les) (1959)

The 400 Blows (Quatre Cents Coups, Les) (1959)

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Released 10-Sep-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Filmographies-Crew-Francois Truffaut
Short Film-Les Mistons, Francois Truffaut's 1957 Short Film
Trailer-Wages Of Fear, La Dolce Vita, Pandora's Box, Jules And Jim
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1959
Running Time 95:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By François Truffaut
Studio
Distributor
Les FilmsDu Carrosse
Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud
Claire Maurier
Albert Rémy
Guy Decomble
Georges Flamant
Patrick Auffray
Daniel Couturier
François Nocher
Richard Kanayan
Renaud Fontanarosa
Michel Girard
Henry Moati
Bernard Abbou
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Jean Constantin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The importance of this film should not be underrated. François Truffaut's gift to the cinematic world with Les Quatre Cents Coups was a new style of film. Rather than the formal, vaguely melodramatic structures which bowed low to their theatrical antecedents, Truffaut's "New Wave" burst from the blocks, as petulant and rebellious as any adolescent, and equally pulsing with life. He abandoned all the stylised conventions and created instead a blur of hand-held camera images, sweeping giddy pans and radically simplified structure that better represented life as it was, rather than glossy life through a lens. It was grittier, edgier, and less comfortable to watch - like a drunken pugilist, it forced its way right into the face of the viewer and provided none of the easy escapes to which an audience was accustomed. It polarised reactions - people loved it or loathed it - but they couldn't ignore it. Before their very eyes, cinema was growing up.

     As was its protagonist, Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud), Truffaut's semi-autobiographical central character. Antoine is a 12 year old boy struggling through the pitfalls of prepubescent life, a task made no easier by his indifferent mother, his ineffectual stepfather, and a culture which hadn't really "invented" adolescence yet. This was the late 50s. Rock and Roll was foreshadowing the hints of the youth culture that was to follow, but for Antoine, that would come all too late. Living in a cramped and squalid apartment, listening to his parents speculate about sending him to an orphanage, and finding no refuge in an almost penally-structured schoolroom, Antoine and his pal Rene (Patrick Auffray) look for validation on the streets of Paris. The day they wag school to enjoy the temptations of a funfair's rotorscope provides one of the most haunting images of cinema, as Antoine struggles against the G-forces, looks of agony and ecstasy pressed simultaneously on his face.

     In order to fund their "delinquency," they decide to steal a typewriter from Antoine's stepfather's office with the intention of pawning it. When their attempts go hopelessly wrong, Antoine is nabbed as he tries to return the machine. With his parents' compliance, he is dealt with by the police, landing him in a cage at the station, then a ride in a police van to the courthouse, mashed up with the adult night-dwellers and miscreants. His passivity and resigned acceptance of their harsh treatment is achingly painful to watch.

     Finally, it is agreed that he will be interred at a juvenile detention centre. The scene where he talks of his life and thoughts to an unseen psychiatrist is perhaps one of the most moving, intimate and confronting pieces of film I have ever witnessed. The honesty and naturalness of Léaud's performance is literally breathtaking. Never before have I seen a child's performance be so spontaneous, so subtle, so paralysingly matter-of-fact.

     (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Eventually, Antoine breaks free and makes a run for it. Starting with long, strong, energetic strides, he arrives at his mythic, never-seen destination - the sea - in exhausted, shuffling steps. It's as if the run took him through youth into the disillusionment of an older age. As he stands at the shoreline, feet now dipped in the baptism of coming-of-age, he turns to face the camera, and, freeze frame - his eyes lock onto ours. It is one of the most famous endings in film. It deserves to be.

     It may be worthwhile making the point that "les quatres cents coups," while transliterating to "400 blows," is actually a French idiom that would translate as "raising hell." That makes a lot more sense of the title, and provides much more of the irony that would have been Truffaut's intent - who was raising hell for whom, exactly?

     Cinematographically, Les Quatre Cents Coups is, well, delicious. It seems to be something about the French photographic eye. When one views photographs by the ilk of Cartier-Bresson, Boubat, Doisneau and Ronis, they have an animation and energy that jump from the page. Conversely, the cinematography by Henri Decaë in Les Quatre Cents Coups is so rich, it's almost like a series of still shots viewed in succession. Perhaps it was this supremacy of visual mastery that led one wag to comment that when he was young, he thought that France was in black and white! For certain, the images are rich, textured and fascinating, and tend to linger in the mind a long time.

     At times the piece becomes a little fragmented, but perhaps, like life, film can just sometimes be a little messy. On the front of the disc's box is a quote from the legendary Akira Kurasawa - "One of the most beautiful films that I have seen." I agree, Akira, I agree.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This is a remastered version of the film, and I would say that overall, it's brought it up to look as good as can be expected.

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, which appears to be its original format.

     For a black and white film, luminance is everything. Here there is fortunately no low level noise and excellent shadow detail. There is a wonderful range of tonal contrast with true blacks and true whites with wonderfully subtle gradients in between.

    There were a number of film artefacts present, including some very noticeable splice jumps at the commencement of nearly every scene. There is a particularly prominent hair mark that appears from 63:06 and remains till 63:21 which is very distracting, and appears to be a transfer fault. There is mild motion blur and quite abundant amounts of aliasing throughout the presentation. There is also a jittering to the pans which can be something of a nuisance.

     Subtitles are clean, legible and timely, and are well positioned on the screen.

     This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 69:28. It is handled very well and does not disrupt the viewing experience.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The soundtrack overall is very sharp and rather shrill in places which can set one's teeth on edge a fraction.

     The only available audio track is a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

     Generally, the dialogue was pretty clear, although there were times when it was muffled by some distortions or rendered so sharply as to be a little ear-splitting. There were cracks and pops and hisses throughout which were true to its heritage I suppose. Audio sync was rather variable - with scenes where it was somewhat lagging.

     The musical score by Jean Constantin was something that Truffaut himself agonised over. He is on record as retrospectively rueing that he allowed a score that swung over to melodrama on occasions. I tend to agree with him. At times, it was too florid for the piece. For example, the intended irony as Antoine is taken away in the van is overshadowed by the overly inflated music. There are many occasions in the film where Truffaut relied on a scarcer score, or even no music at all, and each time, without exception, these scenes were the more dramatic for his choice.

     There was no significant sense of direction in the soundtrack, although there were occasional hints of subwoofer at more dramatic moments.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu is silent, with a still from the feature, and is easy to navigate.

Theatrical Trailer (3:46)

     This is the original theatrical trailer, back from the days when trailers were like trucks - big, chunky and loaded to the gunnels with information!

François Truffaut Filmography

     Four pages of chronologically listed films.

Short Film -Les Mistons (1957), (The Brats) (17:18)

     A little film that predates Les Quatres Cents Coups by a couple of years but shows the nascent talent of the film critic who was becoming a filmmaker. It is the tale of Bernadette, a young girl so impossibly beautiful that she incurs the spiteful attention of a pack of urchins. They are besotted by her, but, young as they are, know no other way to show it than to torment her. There are some nasty scratches in this presentation and the audio sync is horribly off, but there is much to see in this little film.

Umbrella Propaganda:

     Previews for the films:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

      There is a Criterion release of this film which is hard to beat. That version has:     

    These features are hard to beat, but there again, they don't have Les Mistons, which is a true benefit. This is going to be a line call. I'll give it to R4 but only reservedly so. You'll have to decide which features are more meaningful to you to make your decision.

Summary

     There's an achingly sad quality to this film underneath its defiant exterior. Certainly, time has placed its stamp upon it, but that has its own value. The acting is nothing short of remarkable and the imagery is haunting and evocative. The transfer is acceptable, given the stock that it came from. This is a lesson in filmmaking and film history, and deserves its place in film's hall of fame.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Sunday, February 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke

Comments (Add)
R4/Criterion Comparison - David McGowan REPLY POSTED
Truffaut movies - flixyflox REPLY POSTED

Overall | The 400 Blows (Quatre Cents Coups, Les) (1959) | Stolen Kisses (Baisers volés) (1968) | Bed and Board (Domicile conjugal) (1970) | Love on the Run (L'Amour en fuite) (1979)

Stolen Kisses (Baisers volés) (1968)

Stolen Kisses (Baisers volés) (1968)

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Released 22-Nov-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Main Menu Audio
Short Film- Antoine et Colette (29:04)
Biographies-Crew-François Truffaut
Theatrical Trailer-Baisers volés
Theatrical Trailer-Truffaut Collection (8 Trailers)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 87:01
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By François Truffaut
Studio
Distributor
Les Films du Carross
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud
Delphine Seyrig
Claude Jade
Michael Lonsdale
Harry-Max
André Falcon
Daniel Ceccaldi
Claire Duhamel
Catherine Lutz
Martine Ferrière
Jacques Rispal
Serge Rousseau
Paul Pavel
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $28.95 Music Antoine Duhamel


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

François Truffaut's 1968 film Baisers volés, marked the return of the iconic character of Antoine Doinel (François Truffaut's alter-ego) to feature film. We left Doinel as he saw the sea for the first in time in Les Quatre Cents Coups and with no where to run, he looked back into our eyes and seamlessly left behind his troubled adolescence and looked towards the possibilities of the future. In 1962 Truffaut depicted the maturity of Doinel at age 17 and his first ill-fated love affair in Antoine et Colette, which was part of a collection of short films featuring contributions by Shintarô Ishihara, Marcel Ophüls, Renzo Rossellini and Andrzej Wajda, titled L' Amour à vingt ans.

"To make love is a way of compensating for death, of proving you exist." Julien (Paul Pavel)

The wonderful actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, whose name is synonymous with the character of Antoine Doinel gives an effortlessly brilliant performance in Baisers volés. Within the opening scenes we learn Doinel is now in his early twenties and he is (amusingly) dishonorably discharged from military service as he is often (and unsurprisingly) AWOL. Upon returning to Montmartre and civilian life, Doinel looks for his sometimes sweetheart Christine (the luminous Claude Jade in her film debut) but it is later revealed that they have an uneasy relationship as Christine has rejected Doinel's romantic advances for over two years. However Doinel ever the fantasist finds himself working as a private detective after a series of mishaps, and slowly he begins to impress the wide-eyed Christine with his daring profession. But with the new job comes his new obsession as Doinel instantly falls for Fabienne Tabard (Delphine Seyrig), the sophisticated wife of one of his peculiar clients, Georges Tabard (Michael Lonsdale).

As the love triangle closes in on our sympathetic protagonist Doinel is forced to confront himself in the bathroom mirror and choose between the two women in one of the film's most memorable scenes; Doinel anxiously repeats the names of his loves and his own name, until he can no longer breathe. The film is filled with such spontaneous and magical moments, for example the scenes which feature the quiet menace of the character of Albani (Albert Simono) who is in search of the magician who disappeared from his life. When Albani learns the truth he violently tears through the detective agency, only to be slapped repeatedly by the dentist who works upstairs. Watch this scene carefully to see Léaud accidentally fall while the other actors try to stay in character.

There are too many glorious moments in this film to list; from Christine teaching Doinel how to butter his toast properly, to the children who randomly wear Laurel and Hardy masks, to the script-writer (Jacques Robiolles) who converses with Doinel on the street, to Doinel's friendship with the elderly detective Monsieur Henri (Harry-Max) and the weariness of Monsieur Blady (Andre Falcon), to his close relationship with Christine's parents (Claire Duhamel and Daniel Ceccaldi). A personal favorite is Doinel's instinctive and very romantic use of a bottle opener.

The film is a triumph and Baisers volés whimsical romanticism would certainly have been an influence on modern directors such as Wes Anderson and Cameron Crowe.

Baisers volés is a wonderful treat for cinema lovers.

Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The Region 4 Umbrella release has the same transfer as the Region 2 (France) Mk2 release of Baisers volés.

The transfer unfortunately features edge enhancement, a saturated colour palette and assorted film artefacts.

Baisers volés is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.61:1.

The film has been encoded over a dual layer disc at the average bitrate of 5.35 mb/s.

There are no direct issues of MPEG compression artefacts, only mild edge enhancement (for example 40:53).

The colour palette is over saturated and skin tones appear unrealistically heightened.

Sharpness is average and black levels are average due to the softness of the transfer (for example 8:29).

The positive and negative film artefacts (for example 19:27) and film grain are expected due to the age of the film print, but they do not distract from viewing of the film.

The optional English subtitles are generally true to the French dialogue. There were some grammar errors evident and some subtitles appeared sometime after the dialogue was said, but overall the subtitles do give a good generalisation of the French dialogue and action. The subtitles appear in a thin yellow text and automatically appear when the film is selected.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

Like the picture quality the French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtrack is standard. There were evident crackles and pops as well as microphone noise (21:19), possibly due to how the dialogue was recorded.

Overall the dialogue remains clear and audible.

The mono soundtrack has limited use on the surround sound.

The key song for the film is Charles Trenet's Que reste t'il de nos amours.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

The main menu is a static image of the cover-art with the following options; play feature, 22 scene selections and access to extras. There is no set-up menu option but the subtitles can be turned off if desired. The menu is accompanied with a section of the score.

Antoine et Colette (29:04)

The 1962 film features Léaud reprising the Doinel role. Through voice-over we learn Doinel was captured five days after his escape and placed in a strict detention centre. However after a psychologist takes an interest in Doinel, he is placed on probation and now lives an independent and controlled lifestyle. At age of seventeen Doinel is living alone and works for Philips making records. Doinel is passionate about music and one night while attending a concert he sees Colette (Marie-France Pisier) and falls in love for the first time. The beautiful Colette begins a platonic friendship with Doinel and her parents (Rosy Varte and François Darbon) even welcome Doinel in their home. But as Doinel continues to try to woo her with very romantic (yet fanatical) gestures, she begins to distance herself from him.

This short film appears in 16x9 enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen with optional English subtitles. The black and white short film features heavy film grain and telecine wobble.

Truffaut filmography

An extensive Truffaut filmography listing the works of the director from 1957 to 1983 in a backwards chronological order.

The original theatrical trailer (3:15)

Truffaut Collection Trailers

The following trailers can be viewed individually: Les Quatre Cents Coups (16x9), Tirez sur le pianiste, Jules and Jim (16x9), Baisers volés, Domicile conjugal (16x9), L' Amour en fuite (16x9), Le dernier metro (16x9) and La Femme d'à côté.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Criterion Collection has the best release of Baisers volés.

The title is available exclusively in The Adventures of Antoine Doinel 5-Disc Boxset.

The Criterion Edition of Baisers volés features the following specifications and special features: