‘Stolen Kisses’ 1968
Stolen Kisses is the third film of Truffaut’s to feature the character Antoine Doinel, which is to some extent an autobiographical character. He was introduced in The 400 Blows, and he closely follows the real-life early teenage years of Truffaut. The character is very serious and other than a visit to an amusement park, the film has little joy or humour in it. The only time there’s any sense of joy is when he’s not at home or not at school.
In Stolen Kisses, Doinel becomes a comic character. The second film to feature Antoine was ‘Antoine and Colette,’ a segment in the larger film, L’amour à vingt ans. Two other feature films were about Doinel: Bed and Board and Love on the Run.
It’s kind of sad that Truffaut diluted The 400 Blows by making lighter films about Doinel. But it’s also kind of cool that Truffaut can make different films about someone who is in essence, himself, in better times.
And look where Truffaut took himself. He was movie-mad, turned himself into a fully-fledged film critic and then became one of France’s best directors, and his first film, and sometimes his third one, still features on most Greatest 100 Films Ever lists. It’s one of history’s great lessons, that someone can live a life, having nothing, an abject failure at school and in the eyes of others, picked on by teachers, believe they’re unloved, on the streets, beginning a life as a criminal in his teenage years – and turned it around. Because when that character hits the ocean in The 400 Blows, I was positive that Antoine Doinel’s life as a criminal, in and out of jail, was a given.
I can imagine another story of someone else, growing up having very little, an abject failure at school and in the eyes of others, picked on by teachers, believe they’re unloved, committing petty criminal acts in his teenage years, several times lucky to have been let off with a warning by shop-owners and police and not have a criminal record, tried suicide many times without success – and turned it around.
Day 1 of 2nd Quarter
This is it. This is the real deal. I’m at the 25% mark. I’m beginning the second stretch of four. I’m a quarter of the way through. I’ve done three months out of twelve months. I’ve done 92 days and I’m good to go for another 92 days, which will bring in 2018.
Tonight’s a second night with relatives in town staying with us, so I’m going to take it easy, not watch a film, and see if I can make a few observations into something I can publish.