I’ve never heard of Truffaut before, until Barb, a movie connoisseur mentioned this master French filmmaker to me in one of our interactions. Understandably, I approached the movie with high expectations (let me remind you, the endorser is a movie connoisseur), which were met substantially by the movie. baiser.jpgThe movie, indeed, is charming with its light-hearted approach to life, huh, comes across as a pleasant relief to most of us, who are like lunatic rats running after the mirage, the worldly success. I am enthused by its simple story line, which is so realistic in its flavour and so much relatable. It is a subtly humorous tale about a clumsy young man, Antoine (delightfully played by Jean-Pierre Leaud), who is discharged from the Army {he was felt to be unfit for the services} and his “rolling stone” like journey, thereafter, from one temporary job to the other : a night clerk in the hotel, a private detective @Blady, where he indefatigably fails to tail the suspects and an accident-prone TV repairman. His stint as a private detective and many a mishap he faces throughout forms the main theme of the movie. His first ever assignment collapses in no time, when he practices the whole process of how to tail a suspect. He is forced to abort his mission to tail a woman dressed in Black, when she informs the traffic policeman that she is being followed by a clumsy lad who is so desperately hiding his face behind a newspaper, behind a electric pole etc after a random run across the pathway. He single-mindedly pursues his girl Christine, who largely remains indifferent to his affection, while on the other hand keeps himself busy in his efforts to taste a bit of success in the assignments. It is delightful to watch him thrive sincerely despite being faced with many humiliating developments in his job (rendered in a tongue-in-cheek format). After a string of mishaps, when he is on the brink of getting fired by his boss, dame luck suddenly smiles at him. The detective agency is hired by a shoe haberdasher, who is curious to find out why he is not loved/respected by his staff, his wife, and others around him. The lad is asked to join the shoe store as a periscope, so that he could pass 0n the relevant information to his team in the agency. This stint starts as a happier phase of his life : he never has been sought after before so much – salesgirls in the shop treat him as their friend, he becomes  infatuated with his client’s beautiful & elegant looking wife, and his girl friend suddenly lays down traps to seduce him back again. One of the loveliest scenes in the movie is when the young lad reunites with his girl friend and expresses his desire to marry her while having breakfast at her home {he proposes to her by inserting a kind of key around her finger}. The protagonist is endearingly naïve and sustains his interest for life/job & love sincerely, when every act of his life tries to render him incompetent. Is not it true that life is not just about being successful and working towards perfection, but to stay tune persistently with one’s imperfections and pursue what one does or is expected to do doggedly, without expecting major a turnaround outcome. Yes, retain that twinkle of excitement in your eyes, as you strive.

As reviewers say, this movie may be Truffaut’s most sweetly romantic film, a knowing man’s embrace of eager innocence and storybook sentiment. {link:Francois Truffaut, whose keen sense of humanity’s foibles and unique style, sometimes playful and sometimes penetrating, have made him one of cinema’s greatest directors.}Antoine, who is a physical and spiritual projection of Truffaut himself, is a constantly amazed observer and an enthusiastic participant, a fact that gives Stolen Kisses the perspective missing from so many other movies about youth seeking to connect.

…. the cover of the DVD says this movie is explosively funny. I would not agree with this as I view this movie more humorous than fun-filled. Humor goes beyond entertaining us,it makes us think. In the beginning of  Stolen Kisses, observe how fluidly Antoine shrugs off critical remarks as mouthed by the General….”Young men like you are useless and you are discharged, which means you can’t work in Government firms”. One could feel his helplessness against the vicious world, but the mirthful character does make no statement of that. Is this movie about Adolescent transition – adolescents desire to be independent as adults, but may not be ready to face responsibilities that the world/society closer forces on them….”his girl friend’s dad asks the girl to guess the new job Antoine landed in. Observe dad’s reactions to each of her guess – Newspaper boy, Porter,Cab driver, Poet *not much money, Water carrier (giggle), Sheriff, …..”

This movie is part of “New realism” movement in France, which has ordinary people as the leading protagonists. New realism straddles the magic of  both documentary and film worlds.

Over to our expert Alok and Barb – the movie connoisseur! I moved this movie review from the existing post, as I felt this fabulous creation deserves more prominence.  

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