La Petite Voleuse
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Time Out saysOriginally a project nurtured by Truffaut over many years, this also had some late input from Claude de Givray. The array of authors could in part account for the somewhat uneven quality of the film's opening third, which focusses at length upon the heroine's delinquency and her stumbling attempts to lose her virginity. Gradually, however, a greater sense of direction emerges. The setting is post-war France, and precocious teenager Janine (Gainsbourg) is keen to enter the adult world. Initial successes are thwarted when a background in petty theft catches up with her. From provincial tolerance to punitive austerity, the mood shifts to encompass Janine's fortunes. It's difficult not to become interested in the perverse twist of her life, but her strange detachment divests the film of some emotional impact. Given such constraints, Gainsbourg delivers an appropriately low-key performance which boasts maturity way beyond her years. References to the romantic allure of cinema, and Janine's blossoming interest in photography (read film-making), add up to something of a homage to Truffaut.