The film that transformed Truffaut from a leading critic into a New Wave auteur, The 400 Blows follows Antoine Doinel, a cinematic analogue of Truffaut himself, through painful trials characterized by aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime. Doinel is played by a 14-year-old boy who, out of the 60 boys who auditioned for the role, came across as ‘an anti-social loner on the brink of rebellion.’ As such, the 14-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud conveys all the weight of adolescence on his shoulders.
The 400 Blows was filmed at the Eiffel Tower and in the Montmartre, Trocadéro, and Pigalle areas of Paris, serving to situate the tumultuous adolescent in an historic city full of towering landmarks and impressive architecture. Jeanne Moreau, Jacques Demy, François Truffaut, Philippe De Broca, Jean-Luc Godard, and Jean-Paul Belmondo also make on-screen or voiceover cameos during the film.
Please see our current Visitor Guidelines. MAC’s reopening cinema programme has been generously supported by BFI FAN Covid-19 Resilience fund from the National Lottery, through the BFI Film Audience Fund. Duration includes trailers and adverts. Please note that we do not admit latecomers after the main feature has started and we have a limited food & drink policy. See more information about Relaxed Screenings here.