Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows tells the story of young Antoine Doniel (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud), a Parisian boy whose dreams exceed the dreary possibilities at hand. Unloved at home, unsatisfied at school, he acts out and is eventually suspended, arrested, and, near the end of the film, sent to a juvenile prison.
And then . . .
Though the film has taken place almost entirely in Paris, this ending, Antoine's escape through the prison fence into the landscape of the seashore, feels both surprising and right. The scale of Antoine’s freedom and the speed with which he attains it speak of his spirit and the soul-smothering life from which he has emerged.
It also evokes the fact that sometimes, life provides us with a magic portal.
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