Francois Truffaut carries on the adventures of one Antoine Doinel who saw light in Truffaut’s first, The 400 Blows, at 13; then in a sketch in Love at Twenty; and as a young man of 22 in Stolen Kisses. Still played by originator of the role, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Truffaut’s alter ego, he is married and pic traces the tribulations of early married life, a brief adulterous fling, a first child and then settling down to married life in earnest.
It is laced with little incidents, quirky characters, incisive insights and quintessentially French national traits of complacency that avoid chauvinism in Truffaut’s gentle but never sentimental or indulgent treatment.
His wife, played with the right middle-class gentility and innocence by Claude Jade, bolsters income by teaching the violin. Antoine loses his job and has an affair with a Japanese girl that is found out by his headstrong wife and he leaves home for a while. He has a fling at a local bordello where he meets his father-in-law who Gallicly shrugs it off.
The film’s diverse incidents, the offbeat characters, the restrained tenderness and the fine playing down the line welds this into a disarming, charming pic.