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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2009
For a long period of time, the films that feature the adventures of one Antoine Doinel - "The 400 Blows", "Stolen Kisses", "Bed & Board", "Love on the Run" - were not available in the UK and so I had to look to the USA where I came across this gem which also features the short film "Antoine and Colette", the original follow up to "The 400 Blows"!

Criterion are renwoned for their superb editions of great films, and there is no exception here. Though their output is often pricey, it is always worth it. I only wish Criterion would branch out into the UK, for we would be in for a hell of a treat!

Anyway, back to Antoine...

This here is a beautifully packaged five disc edition of the funny yet heartbreaking adventures of Antoine Doinel. Considering the poor UK releases of the films individually this set is worth investing in but what really makes it extra special is the extras which are numerous, and too vast to mention here! Of particular interest for me is the footage relating to the events of May 68 and the Langlois affair. Each film features a plethora of extras that are a real joy to behold.

With regards the films, I always felt Truffaut was a bit of light relief to the more polemical Godard, and these films are brilliantly enjoyable. Jean-Pierre Leaud really was, with Belmondo, the leading star of the nouvelle vague and he is never better than when he plays Truffauts alter ego in these films. I also have a great soft spot for Claude Jade who plays Christine, the female lead to Antoine in the final three films, and she really is wonderful. She is at her very best in, for me, the best of the films Bed & Board where she is a kind of precursor for Diane Keaton's Annie Hall!

Bed & Board as I say is my personal favourite of the films here. Claude Jade's performance is a joy to behold! She is both happy & sad at the same time and manages to make you laugh and cry. Its a wonderful film about marriage and relationships much in the same manner as Bergman's "Scenes From a Marriage", only lighter. Woody Allen admitted to having copied the scene that splits between Antoine telling a friend about his relationship with his wife and Christine (Claude Jade) doing the same with another friend! The set also features rare behind-the-scenes footage with Truffaut at work on the Bed and Board set, and being interviewed along with Claude Jade. Something I very much enjoyed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2012
Absolutely stunning, in every way! One of my favourite things that I own.

When I first saw 'Bed and Board' I was 15. As a teenager I really related to Antione and his adventures. Now I'm 19, and these films just transport you to a different place and time.

I think everyone should watch these films - a must!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2011
For my friends Ursula and Raffael Bietenhader

François Truffaut (1932-1984) cast Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel in Les Quat'cents coups (1959), in which twenty-year role Léaud should continue in four follow-ups: Antoine et Colette (1962), Baisers volés (1968), Domicile conjugal (1970), and L'amour en fuite (1979). The Antoine Doinel cycle thus contains five of Truffaut's total of 22 films.

Establishing the list above without spelling errors and wrong dates requires quite an effort - surprising for a director of such unquestioned quality and durability, only comparable to René Clair and Jean Renoir fifty years earlier! The pivotal character of the Doinel cycle has remained, though there are many more parallel and side roads to explore.

What I am concerned with here is that no Truffaut dvd edition seems to establish the cycle properly, so many people end up wondering how things relate, and with changing females in the lead - an effect of Antoine's sequence of girls/wives, that what, where becomes a puzzle. The main culprit is the only 40 minute long Antoine et Colette, direct sequel of Les Quat'cents coups, where Colette is played by an impressive Marie-France Pisier.

The film was and still is part of an episode epos - L'amour à vingt ans (1962). I hold that the Antoine and Colette film very much followed the topic of the episode film and is perhaps the only true love story Truffaut ever filmed. With its odd length, if fitted poorly into Doinel-collections, so it was either ignored or put on some empty space on other discs. The female lead after Colette moved to Christine Jade whom, for a while, the viewer might have taken for Colette, and the puzzle was/is never really solved.

Which puts the two comfortably cozy, funny, entertaining Baisers and the Domicile before the final Fuite, for which the real Marie-France Pisier, also divorced now, is back as Colette, and in a chance remarkable wagons-lits ride, confronts Antoine with the lost life he is leading (though one of his later female acqusitions, Dorothée, is a stunning update), and, for that matter, also she has nothing but shambles to show, however successful (or is it just ambitious?) a lawyer she might now be.

Fuite, in which Marie-France Pisier, together with Truffaut's omni-talented assistant Suzanne Schiffman, worked on the dénouement of the Doinel cycle, is a remarkable film in itself, with flashbacks, interrelations, reviews of positions etc. Apart from blaming Antoine of being a gigolo - she had just picked up his autobiography - Colette seems to near-explicitely also accuse women of the ease at which they saw divorce as a solution to any problem - The grass is not all that greener once you are nearly twenty years older, and females may be the true losers in that development.

In all, a very substantial, remarkable effort of highest cinematographic standards.
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