7 January 2022

François Truffaut's Baisés volés | Stolen Kisses (1962)

The third part of the Antoine Doinel story begins and ends with the Charles Trenet song 'Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?', which contains the words 'baisés volés'. Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud) has left the army, is in love with Christine (Claude Jade) and for a short time gets a job working at night in a hotel  reception. Until, that is, he's duped by a private detective into uncovering an adultery, meaning that he has been indiscreet and opened a door he shouldn't have: it's difficult to tell if it's a mixture of immaturity, difficulty with handling social situations, shyness, awkwardness, or something else. Doinel was created more than sixty years ago, and perhaps today he'd be diagnosed at a minor level on the autistic spectrum. Certainly a number of his problems in these more enlightened times could be put down to Asperger syndrome.

So he's now set on as a private investigator, although he isn't good at that either. Engaged to seek out exactly what shoeshop owner Monsieur Tabard's (Michael Lonsdale's) problems are with people, his stalking is so evident that a woman tells a cop she's got a guy following her. Plus, Antoine has fallen in love with Tabard's wife Fabienne (Delphine Seyrig), and of course although he never openly confesses this to her, everyone (apart from Tabard who has his own problems) is aware in the shop of Antoine's love.

Balzac, as might be expected with Truffaut, is in there, and the book in question is Le Lys dans la vallée, which Fabienne realises. She visits Antoine when he's in bed, tries to put him straight on the novel, and tries to ease his sexual problems in a few hours. Result: Fabienne is forgotten and Antoine is once again free to be with Christine. But, of course, he can't directly communicate his feelings to get the thing going.

Antoine is now a TV repairer, Christine (much like most of Doinel's women) has to be the one to make the first move, and she takes advantage of this by sabotaging her own TV, or rather her parents' TV while they're away. And they end up in bed. Over breakfast, it's difficult to use words, so (again directly but not directly, even Aspie-like) the couple pass a number of post-its to each other, instantly reacting by writing back. The viewer doesn't see these notes because they're private, but it's clear from their faces that he's asked her to marry him and she's agreed.

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