August 1, 2020

BAPL Virtual Film Series – The 400 Blows (1959)

Date(s) - 08/01/2020 - 08/31/2020
All Day


Join us for a virtual film series for adults on Kanopy!  Each month we pick a culturally significant film for library patrons to watch on Kanopy. This month the featured film is Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959).  Watch the film on your own schedule and then meet with our virtual film club to discuss the film on Tuesday August 25th at 7:30 PM.

Register for the film club here.

More information about Kanopy can be found here:

The 400 Blows - Wikipedia

“The Kid is Alright”

Throughout his career, Truffaut was devoted to celebrating the joys and tribulations of childhood.  With particular sensitivity to the angst of modern adolescence (often due to estrangement from family) – his tales are presented on screen with an insider’s knowledge of loneliness, capacity for irreverence, and an appreciation of the miracle of friendship.  He found his screen avatar in the actor Jean-Pierre Leaud.  Truffaut’s vision and Leaud’s comprehension and interpretative powers led to a partnership over several films.  The 400 Blows is the first of what has come to be known as “the Antoine Doinel Cycle.”  The film is also Truffaut’s first feature and was received at the time with exceptional critical acclaim.  Bosley Crowther writing about the film for the New York Times in 1959 wrote, “…M. Truffaut has here turned out a picture that might be termed a small masterpiece.  The striking distinctions of it are the clarity and honesty with which it presents a moving story of the troubles of a 12-year-old boy.”

-BAPL Staff

Reviews, accessed July 23, 2020., accessed July 24, 2020.

Truffaut’s Children

Canby, Vincent.  “This Child Has to Be Truffaut’s,” The New York Times, September 13, 1970,, accessed July 24, 2020.

Insdorf, Annette. “The 400 Blows: Close to Home,” Inside Criterion/Sneak Peaks, April 8, 2014,, accessed July 23, 2020.

J, McBride. McCarthy, T. “Kid Stuff: Francois Truffaut,” Film Comment, September-October 1976,, accessed July 23, 2020.

Truffaut the Critic, The New Wave, and “Auteur” Theory

Indie Film Hustle.  “What is Auteur Theory and Why is It Important?,” February 17, 2019, Indie Film Hustle,, accessed July 24, 2020.

Sejean, Nathalie.  “Francois Truffaut on How Being a Film Critic Helped Him Become a Filmmaker and about the Ultimate Mistake an Amateur Can Make,” Mentorless, April 25, 2014,, accessed July 24, 2020.

Williams, Ryan.  “Blow by Blow: How Francois Truffaut and His New Wave Contemporaries Deconstructed Filmmaking,” MovieMaker, February 6, 2018,, accessed July 24, 2020.

The Antoine Doinel Cycle

The Criterion Collection.  “The Adventures of Antoine Doinel,, accessed July 24, 2020.

Local Library Resources

  • Discovering Truffaut, part of Kanopy’s series “Discovering the Arts.”
  • Jules and Jim, feature film directed by Francois Truffaut.
  • Two in the Wave, documentary exploration of the relationship and impact of Truffaut and Godard.

The Films in My Life by Francois Truffaut (Allentown Public Library).

Multiple films by Francois Truffaut are available locally.  The remaining films of the Antoine Doinel Cycle are available through your home library Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service, as are numerous additional print and film resources.  Need help deciding?  Contact the Ref Desk at 610-867-3761, ext 399 or via e-mail: