Stolen Kisses

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Stolen Kisses
Baisers voles.jpg
original film poster
Directed by François Truffaut
Produced by François Truffaut
Marcel Berbert
Written by François Truffaut
Claude de Givray
Bernard Revon
Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud
Claude Jade
Delphine Seyrig
Music by Antoine Duhamel
Song: Que reste-t-il de nos amours? by Charles Trenet
Cinematography Denys Clerval
Edited by Agnès Guillemot
Production
company
Les Films du Carrosse
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • 14 August 1968 (1968-08-14) (Avignon)
  • 4 September 1968 (1968-09-04) (France)
Running time 91 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $350,000[1]
Box office $1.5 million[1]

Stolen Kisses (French: Baisers volés) is a 1968 French romantic comedy-drama film directed by François Truffaut starring Jean-Pierre Léaud and Claude Jade. It continues the story of the character Antoine Doinel, whom Truffaut had previously depicted in The 400 Blows and the short film Antoine and Colette. In this film, Antoine begins his relationship with Christine Darbon, which is depicted further in the last two films in the series, Bed & Board and Love on the Run.

The original French title of the film comes from a line in Charles Trenet's song "Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?" which is also used as the film's signature tune. The film was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[2]

The film begins with a pan onto the locked gates of the Cinémathèque Française then based at the Palais du Chaillot. On the gates there is a sign 'Relache' ('Closed'). This is Truffaut's reference to the Affaire Langlois when the head of the Cinémathèque had been sacked by the French government. He was eventually reinstated after filmmakers like Truffaut used all their wiles to foment protest.

Plot[edit]

There are many continuations from The 400 Blows; discharged from the army as unfit, Antoine Doinel seeks out his sweetheart, violinist Christine Darbon. He has written to her voluminously (but, she says, not always nicely) while in the military. Their relationship is tentative and unresolved. Christine is away skiing with friends when Antoine arrives, and her parents must entertain him themselves, though glad to see him. After she learns that Antoine has returned from military service, Christine goes to greet him at his new job as a hotel night clerk. It is a promising sign that perhaps this time, the romance will turn out happily for Antoine. He is, however, quickly fired from the hotel job. Counting the army, Antoine loses three jobs in the film, and is clearly destined to lose a fourth, all symbolic of his general difficulty with finding his identity and "fitting in".

Later, Christine attempts to guess Antoine's latest job, amusingly tossing out guesses like sheriff or water taster. Finally, his job as a private detective is revealed. Throughout the film, Antoine works to maintain the job, working a case that requires him to pose as a shoe store stock boy. The job separates Antoine from his relationship with Christine. Soon, he falls for his employer's attractive (and older) wife, who willingly seduces him. He quarrels with Christine, saying he has never "admired" her. Fired from the detective agency, by the film's end, Antoine has become a TV repairman. He still avoids Christine, but she wins him back by deliberately (and simply) disabling her TV, then calling his company for repairs while her parents are away. The company sends Antoine, who is once again bumbling and inept, trying for hours to fix a TV with just one missing tube. Morning finds the two of them in bed together.

The film's final scene shows the newly engaged Antoine and Christine, strolling in the park. A strange man who has trailed Christine for days approaches the couple and declares his love for Christine. He describes his love as "definitive" and unlike the "temporary" love of "temporary people". When he walks away, Christine explains that the man must be mad. Antoine, recognising similarities in much of his own previous behaviour, admits, "He must be".

Cast[edit]

References to other Truffaut films[edit]

  • Early in the film Doinel can seen reading a French translation of the 1947 William Irish (Cornell Woolrich) novel Waltz into Darkness. This novel would be the source of Truffaut's next film, Mississippi Mermaid.
  • The character Colette Tazzi and her husband Albert make a brief cameo appearance. She chides Doinel for not contacting her, saying he didn't used to be "afraid of the telephone." This is a reference to the plot of the 1962 short Antoine and Colette.

Critical response[edit]

Stolen Kisses was well-reviewed by critics all over the world. In an enthusiastic article from the New York Times (March 4, 1969) Vincent Canby comments:[4]

With what can only be described as cinematic grace, Truffaut's point of view slips in and out of Antoine so that something that on the surface looks like a conventional movie eventually becomes as fully and carefully populated as a Balzac novel. There is not a silly or superfluous incident, character, or camera angle in the movie. Truffaut is the star of the film, always in control, whether the movie is ranging into the area of slapstick, lyrical romance or touching lightly on DeGaulle's France (a student demonstration on the TV screen). His love of old movies is reflected in plot devices (overheard conversations), incidental action (two children walking out of the shoe store wearing Laurel and Hardy masks), and in the score, which takes Charles Trenet's 1943 song, known here as "I Wish You Love," and turns it into a joyous motif.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company The Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 282
  2. ^ "The 41st Academy Awards (1969) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  3. ^ Allen, Don. Finally Truffaut. New York: Beaufort Books. 1985. ISBN 0-8253-0335-4. OCLC 12613514. pp. 229-230.
  4. ^ New York Times article

External links[edit]