HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
   
 
  Bed and Board Antoine's Guide to Married Life
Year: 1970
Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claude Jade, Hiroko Berghauer, Barbara Laage, Daniele Girard, Daniel Ceccaldi, Claire Duhamel, Daniel Boulanger, Silvana Blasi, Pierre Maguelon, Jacques Jouanneau, Claude Véga, Jacques Rispal, Jacques Roboilles, Pierre Fabre
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Fourth in the series of five films François Truffaut made about his fictional alter-ego Antoine Doinel, Domicile Conjugal (Bed and Board) finds Antoine (Jean-Pierre Leaud) now twenty-six and happily married to Christine (Claude Jade). While his wife earns a living teaching children to play the violin, Antoine works for a florist, dyeing flowers in pursuit of achieving the 'perfect red.' Yet forever restless, Antoine soon loses interest. He decides to go for a job interview with an American construction company. To his own surprise he lands the job of operating radio-controlled boats in a scale model of a harbour. Meanwhile, Christine is pregnant and in spite of initial anxieties Antoine is delighted to become a father. Once again however, that familiar reckless streak kicks in again as he embarks on an affair with an enigmatic Japanese girl named Kyoko (Hiroko Berghauer).

Truffaut's previous Antoine Doinel film, Stolen Kisses (1968), had been an international hit and it was at the premiere that his mentor Henri Langlois, founder of the Cinematheque Francais, planted the seed for the sequel by insisting people would want to see Antoine and Christine as a married couple. Yet some critics saw Bed and Board as proof Truffaut had gone soft on the bourgeoisie. Only two years after playing a prominent role in the student riots that rocked Paris, here he was ditching politics for an "inconsequential" comedic study of domestic strife. Certainly, we are a long way away from the impassioned social realism of The 400 Blows (1959). Nevertheless Truffaut infuses Antoine's tragicomic (or is it comi-tragic?) story with his own anxieties about marriage and fatherhood, having notched up one divorce, some children and a string of tumultuous love affairs.

No matter how domesticated Antoine appears to be at the start of the film, he remains something of an outsider. Suspicious of society even as he longs to be a part of it. In this instance society is embodied by Christine played with captivating charm by Claude Jade who rarely gets the credit she is due as half of one of French cinema's great double acts with the beguiling, ever-hapless Jean-Pierre Leaud. Note Truffaut's fixation with her lovely legs (indeed an obsession with shapely stems reoccurs throughout his filmography) which accounts for more than mere erotic allure. Those legs are always on the move with Antoine compelled to follow even though he is never entirely happy with the domestic path down which they lead. The arc of Bed and Board charts the progression of Antoine and Christine's relationship from cute newlywed antics towards a more mature form of love sprung from confronting each other's failings, negotiating the emotional land-mines of childbirth and infidelity along the way.

In spite of the oddly ominous score from Antoine Duhamel that sounds like something Bernard Herrmann would have concocted for Truffaut's idol Alfred Hitchcock, Bed and Board is foremost a comedy and includes some of the funniest gags the auteur ever conceived. The job interview where Antoine muddles through his broken English, the sight gag that clues him about his impending fatherhood, the friend that keeps borrowing money and his hopeless attempts to rid himself of an incriminating bunch of flowers are staged with nods to Truffaut's comic heroes: Leo McCary, Ernst Lubitsch and Jacques Tati. Additionally the eccentric characters that populate courtyard where Antoine vainly tries to concoct the perfect red draw upon Jean Renoir's 1936 classic Le Crime de Monsieur Lange, including the neighbours suspicions surrounding a mysterious man dubbed 'the Strangler.' Yet unlike Quentin Tarantino, Truffaut is never so preoccupied with cinematic references that he disconnects from the real world. Truffaut and his co-screenwriters Claude de Givray and Bernard Revon employed a unique creative method in assembling the plot from interviews conducted with real people. Participants were quizzed as to how they might respond to events depicted in the plot thus enabling the writers to avoid the pitfalls of contrivance and keep things fresh and real. Certainly there is a ring of authenticity about the gradual breakdown in Antoine's relationship with Christine which happens without recourse to Hollywood melodrama. Even after exposing cracks in their perfect relationship there remains a tangible warmth and intimacy between the pair culminating in a scene both poignant and funny wherein Antoine keeps breaking off from his date with Kyoko to phone Christine for advice. If there is a flaw it is that Truffaut skirts caricature through depicting Kyoko as this inscrutable Oriental spider-woman. We never really get to know what makes her tick. If the film seems inconsequential judged beside the high points in Truffaut's output it is worth noting few other auteurs produced a minor work so rich in insight, ingenuity and charm.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1758 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: