The Cinema Club is pleased to announce the screening of the French classic, The 400 Blows (1959), this Monday. The 400 Blows belongs to a select group of films which could be said to be responsible for revolutionizing modern film-making. The only other film which could rival its resonating influence is Citizen Kane (1941), for the introduction of elements like deep focus and complex narrative structures in cinema, and employing the Auteur theory before it became popular in the 60’s. Ironically, the man largely credited with developing the Auteur theory was the director of The 400 Blows, Francois Truffaut. Click here to view the most influential films of the last century according to Roger Ebert.
The 400 Blows is considered to be the first film of the pioneering film movement of the 60’s, more prominently known as the French New Wave. This movement was a response by the culture-starved Post War youth of France to the studio-bound, script-centered cinema that dominated the World filmscape at the time. Unlike Hollywood, which gave its directors little creative control over their films, the pioneers of the French New Wave devised the auteur theory, wherein, it was believed that the filmmaker is to be afforded as much discretion as a writer gets when he is writing a book. The filmmaker is the author of his film; an artistic icon on par with writers and painters.
Apart from Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, the other noted films of the movement are Godard’s Breathless, Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour, and Claude Chabrol’s The Good Girls. The unique thing about the New Wave directors is that they were originally film critics, writing for the noted French journal called Cahiers du Cinema, founded by the noted film historian, Andre Bazin. What drove these young French men into film-making was their love of film (they were the original “geeks”) and their conviction that cinema could be as challenging and satisfying as any other art-form. Though primarily set in France, the influence of this movement on popular culture can be seen around the world. The development of the alternate film-circuit in India and the rise of directors like Anurag Kashyap can be largely attributed to the influence of the French New Wave.
So, the Cinema Club invites you to witness one of the true master-pieces of modern cinema, The 400 Blows. A film you have to see to truly understand the power of film-making.