Troy Patterson
May 02, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Adventures of Antoine Doinel

Current Status
In Season

We gave it an A

Who is Antoine Doinel? According to Francois Truffaut, he is the synthesis of the director himself (a juvenile delinquent who grew up to make revolutionary movies suffused with a personal and boyish romanticism) and actor Jean-Pierre Léaud (”an antisocial loner,” in Truffaut’s phrase, equal parts prince and clown). The four features and one short nattily packaged in The Adventures of Antoine Doinel — ”The 400 Blows,” ”Stolen Kisses,” ”Bed and Board,” ”Love on the Run,” and ”Antoine and Colette” — find Doinel growing from 12-year-old truant to Clouseauvian private eye to divorcé still searching for joy as Léaud keeps reassuming the role over 20 years. The set’s bounty of features illuminates every exploit (via audition clips, commentaries, essays, documentaries, interviews, treatments, and Truffaut’s pre-Doinel short ”Les Mistons”) and tours the brave new world of the French new wave (see ”newsreel footage of Truffaut’s impassioned rally to shut down the 1968 Cannes film festival”). A singular adventure.

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