This essay focuses on the theme of authority in François Truffaut’s 1959 film The 400 Blows (1959), and how it negatively affects the lead protagonist Antoine Doinel as he strives for intellectual freedom. Beginning with a short introduction to the film, including the influence of its director and its importance to the French New Wave Movement, the essay analyzes soundtrack, lighting, and character blocking to illuminate the struggles Antoine faces in the shadow of authority. Through understanding authority and its impact on Antoine’s intellectual capabilities, the essay comments on the creativity and freedoms of youths in conflict with an authoritarian presence in post WWII French society.
Sheldon Gaskell, ’15
Sponsor: Michelle Mouton