‘Les Quatre Cents Coups’ to screen at Old Town Theatre

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The Sam Houston State University Department of Mass Communication will screen the French film ‘Les Quatre Cents Coups’ on March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Old Town Theatre.

Assistant Professor of Mass Communication Grant Wiedenfeld began to gain interest in French films after he studied abroad in France. Additionally, Wiedenfeld teaches film history courses at SHSU and will introduce the film and host a discussion with Peter Gachanja, Ph.D., immediately after the screening.

The significance of the screening will encourage students to appreciate language through different outlets, Wiedenfeld said.

“The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it,” he said. “If you can’t go to Paris, watching French movies is the next best thing.”

The film follows a young, misunderstood boy in Paris throughout the 1950s, along with the troubles that he encounters in his academics and his personal life. His hardships give meaning to the title ‘Les Quatre Cents Coups’ and translates to ‘The 400 Blows’, a French idiom that means “to raise hell.”

French films are widely known and ‘Les Quatre Cents Coups” gives an unusual perspective which sets it apart from other movies.

“The 400 Blows is one of the greatest films of all time,” Wiedenfeld said. “It’s funny, charming and touching. “Beyond the enjoyment of a good movie, you may gain insight on French life in 1959.”

Additionally, French-language films are a large part of the culture in France and offer a fresh outlook on everyday lifestyles.

“French cinema is a part of French culture,” Wiedenfeld said. “Aside from fashion, French cinema is the most internationally well-known aspect of contemporary French culture.”

Language through cinema is an unorthodox way to approach cultures. Wiedenfeld additionally said the French often watch American movies.

“It [‘The 400 Blows’] had an enormous influence on American cinema and elsewhere,” he said. “There had never been anything like it. This movie showed audiences that movies could tell stories on the same level as novels, but in a way unique to cinema.”

The cinematic techniques used by director Francois Truffaut allowed film to connect with many different classes in society as well as different age groups.

“A ‘New Wave’ of filmmakers captured this youthful spirit and perspective in a way that movies never had before,” Wiedenfeld said.

The screening will have English subtitles for those who do not know the language.

Old Town Theatre is located at 1023 12th Street, Huntsville, Texas.