The main character is over 30. He works as a proofreader in a publishing house and writes prose. He has a mistress, Sabina, a record saleswoman, and simultaneously divorces his wife Christina, and their divorce is the first in France, drawn up by mutual consent.
His life goes on as usual, until one day Colette, Doinel’s former lover, catches the eye of his novel, largely autobiographical…
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The cycle of semi-autobiographical films opens with the painting of the young FranÃ§ois Truffaut ‘400 Blows’, then it is continued by the short story ‘Antoine and Colette’ from the film ‘Love at 20’, followed by ‘Stolen Kisses’, ‘Family Hearth’, and it closes with the picture ‘The Runaway love’.
The hero of the pentalogy is Antoine Doinel, originally conceived as the embodiment of the alter-ego of the director, who then acquires individual features, changes, lives his own life, captured on film, although it continues to broadcast the life of Truffaut himself on the screen, only through the filter of the laws of art and cinema reality.
‘400 Blows’ is the beginning of a journey, a period of flight under the onslaught of negative circumstances, the film, as if completed on a high note of the composition, with a mute question addressed to the off-screen space. The life of the hero in each period is connected with art, which has a direct impact on him. Here it is literature – Antoine is fond of Balzac, he spends the night in a printing house, and runs away from school because of an unfair accusation regarding the composition.
The story of the hero continues in the tape ‘Antoine and Colette’, at the beginning there is an audio link informing about the events that happened to Antoine over 4 years. Now he lives alone, regardless of his parents, his throwing after suffering four hundred blows, it would seem, has stopped. The hero is fond of music, works in a company that produces vinyl records, attends meetings of music lovers. During this period of life, it is this sphere of art that dominates, and thanks to it, he meets a girl and falls in love, trying in vain to win her. Colette perceives him only as a friend, and in the end he remains in the company of her parents, and she leaves with another. In this part of the cycle, the hero continues to flee – but this is only the pursuit of the girl and attempts to achieve her. If in the first film he runs without a clear goal and in an indifferent direction, then here his actions have a goal – reciprocity. After the destruction of hopes, the hero leaves again, his life changes once again.
This is revealed in the next movie, Stolen Kisses. It begins with Antoine leaving the army, and he returns to his independent life, trying to arrange a relationship with his girlfriend Christine. This movie is different, it’s a comedy, the rest are dramatic. Doinel changes professions, periodically getting into ridiculous situations that cause laughter. The motive of persecution is continued – while working as a private detective, in addition, Antoine seeks the location of Christine. She continues to keep him at a distance, and the hero stops all his fruitless actions, focusing on another woman. But the consequence of these love impulses is the creation of a harmonious relationship with Christine thanks to her initiative, and Antoine still acquires the status of a loved one. A kind of patron of this part is theatrical art, the hero changes his activity, behavior like a mask, plays the role of an observer and scout in a shoe store, although he does not cope, the atmosphere of the game is supplemented by the performance of a magician who was also under observation. And at the end of the film, a certain mysterious gentleman appears, confessing his love to Christine, and disappearing so mysteriously that it creates the feeling of an unknown production.
‘Family Hearth’ continues Antoine’s story. She and Kristin are married, and this film is dedicated to their relationship, warm and unshakable, as they seem at the beginning, turn out to be not so strong. In the beginning, the ideal of a family appears, a happy wife, a caring husband, she gives violin lessons, he paints flowers. In such an idyllic atmosphere, a child is born, and then the family hearth begins to go out. Kristin lacks attention, and Antoine, having changed jobs, meets a Japanese woman, Kyoko, who charmed him. They start an affair, which Kristin finds out about and cannot forgive him. The hero begins to write a novel, splashing out the accumulated experience of lightness and suffering over all the years of throwing on the pages, continues his relationship with Kyoko, but she weighs him down with her silence, misunderstanding, turns into a suffocating shadow, and Antoine begins to miss Christine, calls her, tries to fix things with her relationship. As a result, they converge again and become like their neighbors, whose tender love is inseparable from irritation, which, in their opinion, is the ideal. It turns out another cycle, which led to the starting point, but only with a changed character and experience of the ‘escape-return’ marathon. In this period of the hero’s life, a fusion of music and literature is manifested, these are books and letters associated with the image of the hero, and compositions that are identified with the image of Christine.
The cycle ends with the film ‘Escaped Love’ or ‘Runaway Love’. The translation does not accurately reflect the content of the film, it would be closer to ‘Escaped Love’, which changes the meaning, it becomes closer to the plot, since the word escaped carries the semantic connotation of preservation, which is opposite to the meaning of the translated title and, in general, the end of the story. This film is the crown of the pentalogy, and the previous four films are embodied in it as the text of Antoine’s book and as memories of the characters. ‘Slipping Love’ performs an architectural function, completing unfinished relationships, filling in gaps, completing situations, creating wholeness and completeness, resulting in a single cycle perceived as a whole. The theme of relations with parents who have already died is continued, but the meeting with the mother’s lover creates a spiritual compensation for the tragic line, since this person completes the image of the parents with previously unknown details, the result of which is forgiveness and reconciliation. The theme of the hero’s unfinished relationship with his girls develops. The fifth film is all Antoine films in one. As for the storyline, the action continues a few years later, the hero meets with another girl, Sabina, and divorces Christine by mutual agreement, they maintain friendly relations with each other and raise their son Alphonse. By chance, Antoine meets Colette, who is reading his book. ‘Love Confusion’, written by him, also turns out to be semi-autobiographical, and here Doinel appears as Truffaut’s double, creating a half-fictional, half-real alter ego. The hero of the film tells Colette the plot of a possible new book, but does not know how to develop it, because this situation is real, and he has once again become entangled in a relationship. The denouement had many of the options listed earlier, including suicide. He was afraid to develop further both the plot of the story and the relationship, but in the end all the broken lines were reunited, the gaps were filled, and Antoine realized what he needed, what was important, and stopped his throwing.
This final part is the embodiment of the synthesis of arts, cinema, literature, theater, music, photography are organically combined in one work, largely thanks to self-citations and, of course, the talent of the director. Moreover, he quotes not only the films of the pentalogy, but also from the ‘American Night’, which is not included in the cycle, since the image of another hero, Alphonse, has already been created there, although he is played by the same actor, Jean-Pierre Leo. But the situations from this film are realized in ‘Slipping Love’ as the events that happened to Antoine. Therefore, this picture can be called a colorful collage of Truffaut’s work, grandiose in terms of the number of connected event highways, this film is the vanishing point of the lines of previous films, which created such a harmonious and bright pentalogy.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (64.6 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
French: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
French: Dolby Digital Mono
French: Dolby Digital 2.0