Pialat's first feature is a wonderfully delicate study of a ten-year-old boy and his decline into delinquency when boarded out with foster parents after being abandoned by his mother. With Truffaut as co-producer, comparisons with Les Quatre Cents Coups are inevitable, but there is really little resemblance between the two films except in theme and refusal to sentimentalise. Instead of focusing on the child, Pialat concentrates on the adults: the foster parents puzzledby the boy's delinquency since he so clearly responds to their affection; the ancient grandmother with whom he breaks through to a special relationship (very warm and funny); the welfare and adoption officers, carrying out their jobs with weary patience, but tending to treat the children as pets rather than as human beings. It's a film in which nuance is everything; amazingly, given that Pialat was working exclusively with non-professionals, the performances are stunning.
Cast and crew