BOOKS/FILMS/AUTHORS--USEM4--1999

400 Blows by Francois Truffaut

This film brought you into the world of Antoine. It made you feel like you were actually a part of Antoine and whatever he did, whether it be good or bad, you were right there next to him. There were times throughout the film when you just wanted to reach out to this poor boy and surround him in a great big hug and tell him that someone loved him and cared about him. It is amazing that Antoine made it as far in life as he did without any support from the home or from his school. His only crutch in life was his friend, but one young boy can only help another so much.

The one thing I learned from the viewing of 400 Blows is that I'm glad the teaching methods are vastly different today from those of Antoine's time and culture. I know for a fact that I would have lacked an elementary and secondary school education, because I would have been out of Antoine's school system within a week.

In comparing Salinger's Catcher in the Rye with the film 400 Blows, the similarities between each of the protagonists are both numerous and uncanny. Antoine and Holden are male adolescents whose characters revolve around periods of lying, loneliness, deception, fear, and nervousness. Both characters spend most of their time searching for self happiness, which neither ever truly finds. Other striking similarities between the two boys include: an inclination towards violence, a desire for sexual experience, a never-ending search for lost innocence, expulsion from school, a need to run away from home/failure, and a wish to be a unique and uninhibited person. Both individuals state that they will write to their parents to explain why the events in their lives have occurred; they choose this method instead of calling or facing their parents in person. Also, at least one time in each work each character opts to spend the night in less favorable conditions rather than go home and face his family. Finally, both Holden and Antoine see freedom as a far off place, not something of the familiar.