Jojo has been living for a while in a room under the roof of a block of flats in Pigalle. He has chosen to leave home since he realized his stepmother has hated him from day one. Among his ... See full summary »
Antoine Doinel is now more than thirty. He divorces from Christine. He is a proofreader, and is in love with Sabine, a record seller. Colette, his teenager love, is now a lawyer. She buys ... See full summary »
Paul is young, just demobbed from national service in the French Army, and dishillusioned with civilian life. As his girlfriend builds herself a career as a pop singer, Paul becomes more ... See full summary »
Young, handsome, dashing but cynical, Octave Mouret arrives in Paris, determined to conquer the belles of the capital. His first attempts are not too successful though as he is rebuffed by ... See full summary »
Alice Carol leaves her husband one rainy night, telling him that she does not love him anymore. She travels alone but when her windscreen breaks on a lonely road, she has to stop and seek ... See full summary »
This short film is the first segment of five in the multinational feature Love at Twenty (1962), all five segments on the theme of first adult love. After indulging in much delinquency in ... See full summary »
Daniel needs some money to buy a duffle coat that is in fashion, so he agrees to work for a photographer by dressing up as Santa Claus. He discovers that it is much easier to meet girls ... See full summary »
Jojo has been living for a while in a room under the roof of a block of flats in Pigalle. He has chosen to leave home since he realized his stepmother has hated him from day one. Among his many neighbors in the house is the gorgeous Jenny Dorr, a nightclub dancer,whose lover he dreams of becoming. But as the boy is only sixteen Jenny proves kind and motherly but that's that. Worse, she becomes the lover of Dicky, a mediocre boxer farting around in the Pigalle cafés. On the other hand, Jojo, who has no income, must absolutely find work, all the more as he woos Marietta, one of his other neighbors, a young lady more suited to his age. Selling magazines works for a while but posing as Narcissus for two gay artists proves a disaster. When things go really awry, Jojo tries to commit suicide by jumping off the roof of his house... Written by
François Truffaut's protégé directed by Julien Duvivier!I was skeptical about it.I really hate Leaud's acting which represents for me the worst of the French cinema,the so called works reserved for the elite ,the likes of Godard and Rivette.
I've got to make amends:Jean-Pierre Léaud -who had just made "les 400 coups" - manages to stay very natural,very convincing ,nothing of the affected acting which would be his late sixties trademark.Léaud got a raw deal during his childhood ,they say, and we can feel it every step of the way along the "boulevard".
The simple nature of "Boulevard" may mean that some viewers will pass it over quickly -or dismiss it as a "400 coups" remake- since it's a grower ,but spend some time with it and it becomes clear that it's really Duvivier's world ,a world that existed long before Truffaut began to work.
"Boulevard" depicts a colorful microcosm:that of Montmartre/Pigalle fifty years ago.But what lies beneath is Duvivier's noir philosophy :Man is evil,period.The best scenes are the ones which take place on the roofs near a huge neon sign;from a distance,when the Sacré Coeur is lit up at night,the young hero is full of hope ;but when he knows the other side of the picture ,that is to say when he's got to live in a world made by man,it's another story.
With the exception of the two gay artists -and the scene when Leaud poses for them as Narcissus is worth the price of admission-,the hero is searching someone he can put his trust in: The boxer(Pierre Mondy)is a washout more pitiful than really perverse .Just hear Leaud scream "Tocard!Tocard!Tocard! " (=dead loss!) The two female characters :the bitch (Magali Noel) and the pure young wop girl ,they are all much of a muchness.
And finally the father:he left his son when he got married again.Duvivier's genius shines in the sequence where a desperate Leaud comes to his father's place and begs for some Francs.Duvivier needs only one shot to depict the stepmother:behind her till,she resembles Germaine Kerjean in "Voici le Temps des Assassins" (1956),Duvivier's latter days' masterpiece.
SPOILER:the final on the roofs with Leaud destroying the neon sign and the father coming to his rescue is a faux happy end:when the picture fades to black , you can hear both of them laugh, a sinister laugh over Jean -Claude Pascal's melancholy song .
NB :In "le Diable et les dix Commandements " ,the segment starring Alain Delon,Madeleine Robinson and Danielle Darrieux would come back to childhood tragedy.
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