6 January 2022

François Truffaut's Antoine et Colette (1962)

Antoine et Colette is the second – but short (thirty-minute) – appearance of Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) after the first feature Les Quatre cents coups (1959) and before the other three features: Baisés volés (1968), Domicile conjugal (1970) and L'Amour en fuite (1978). Antoine et Colette was part of a series of five shorts by different directors gathered as 'L'Amour à 20 ans': it was originally entitled 'Paris'. It is of course autobiographical and Jean-Pierre Léaud is to some extent modelled on Truffaut.

There is even a self-referential scene here taken from Les Quatre cents coups, where Antoine's very young friend René Bigey (Patrick Auffay) – with the equally young Antoine hiding – is caught misbehaving and smoking by his father M. Bigey (Georges Flamant). But the film begins with a view of Paris streets, and then to a seventeen-year-old Antoine waking up to Guy Béart singing on the radio:

Le matin, je m'éveille en chantant

Et le soir, je me couche en dansant*.

Antoine (like Truffaut) has had parent problems and leads an independent existence, working in a record factory. This has its advantages as he is given free tickets to free concerts, and invites his friend René (still Patrick Auffay) along with him to one. And it's there that he sees Colette (Marie-France Pisier) and can't stop looking at her. And soon they start going out.

Antoine meets Colette's mother (Rosy Varte) and her step-father (François Darbon), he appeals to them, and they are soon inviting him to dinner. Antoine is very happy with this arrangement, and soon moves into a room opposite Colette. However, he is young for his age, a little shy and perhaps rather wimpish: Colette is soon tiring of him and begins to go out with the more rugged and self-assured Albert (Jean-François Adam).

The concluding music, sung by George Delerue, has the same title as this the series of films: 'L'Amour à 20 ans'.

*In Jamais la même chose : Chroniques 2015 - 2017 François Morel says of Guy Béart, who died in 2015, that when people like him die, a person tends to 'faire son Perec', and continues by listing things he (mainly) remembers about Béart in imitation of Perec's 'Je me souviens...' fashion. The problem is that in his second line Morel has him going to bed not dancing but singing!

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