Sunday, August 01, 2010

Raising Hell

The fellow behind the microphone it one Francois Truffaut, and he was born February 6th, 1932 in Paris, France. It seems that August is suffering from July's disease of not producing heroes of the day, so once again I am forced to find a stand-in hero. Also, the ending date of this project is fast approaching, and I realize that I have overlooked a few heroes, like Truffaut, and that I am facing a deficit of about 10 heroes. Therefore, the heroes are going to have to come fast and furious for about a week or so.

Truffaut's hero status is based almost entirely on his autobiographical 1959 film "The 400 Blows." That is the English title which is a poor translation of the French title les quatre cents coups, which is based upon a French expression meaning "to raise hell" or "to live a wild life." The film's "hero" and Truffaut's childhood are pretty similar, and it is not a happy tale of a loving family raising a "normal" child. Truffaut's did not even live with his parents until the age of 10, and by the age of 14 he was living his own wild life. Being expelled from several schools, he decided to be self-taught with the stated goals of watching three movies a week, and reading three books a week. Of course, movie admission wasn't free, and he would normally sneak into the cinema to watch movies.

The rest of his biography you can sort out for yourself, or you can do what I am doing as I write this, which is watching "The 400 Blows." Since it is near the end, and a particularly famous scene is taking place at this moment, I am a bit distracted. I am sure that Truffaut would understand, and not hold it against me. After all his "auteur theory" would state that the film is his personal vision, and that it the director that is to be considered the true author of the film. Far be it for me to write anything approaching my own personal vision of Truffaut while I am watching his personal vision unfold right in front of me. So, for that theory, and this lovely film that is helping me pass an otherwise boring Sunday afternoon, Francois Truffaut (February 6th, 1932-October 21st, 1984, at the age of 52 from a brain tumor), you are my (347th) hero of the day.

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