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Stolen Kisses (1968), #39 out of 100

March 25, 2012


Francois Truffaut’s followup to French New Wave spearhead The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses presents another semi-autobiographical coming-of-age chapter oppressed in development by its setting. But this time the lead Antoine is no longer a young boy confused by hypocritical or shallow authority, but is now a young man struggling for purpose in empty occupations and the confusion between lust and love in ’60s France. Dismissed from the army for being unfit, Antoine Doinel stumbles into a private detective job that sets him off on humorously modest adventures to occupy himself when he’s not busy pining for long-time platonic friend Christine, only to find the job further confuses his emotional being.

His romantic confusion and insecurity are best reflected in his private attempts at clarity, whether a failed attempt at a kiss or staring down his reflection while trying to figure out where his heart lies. The context of the misadventures of his job don’t give him much solace either, only further confusing his identity. Rather, its the few companions he’s able to accrue and their advice that help deliver the wisdom of life to this confused young man, assisting him to carry on in the confusion of existence. In the peak of Antoine’s connections with another person, he is confided with support he’s never known before: “I’ll teach you everything I know and, in return, you teach me everything you know.” It’s a beautiful sentiment of companionship and trust that puts all of the ridiculous struggles of life into a wistful context, providing the mature wisdom of love that is just within reach.

From → Top 100

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