United Kingdom: March 27 1969
Ranking: 3,440 out of 16,123 movies (up 419)
Stolen Kisses opens with the now-grown Doinel sprung from military prison with a dishonorable discharge, drawn directly from Truffaut's own history of delinquency, but the parallels end there. Lovesick Doinel woos the perky but unresponsive object of his affections, Christine (Claude Jade) while he engages in a series of professions--hotel night watchman, private investigator, TV repairman--with mixed success and comic entanglements. But when he falls in love with the elegant wife of his client (Delphine Seyrig at her most beautiful and charming), Christine realizes she misses Antoine's persistence and clumsy passes, so she embarks on a seductive plan of her own. Truffaut's comic confection is full of deadpan gags and screwball chaos, a world away from the heavy seriousness of The 400 Blows, and Léaud is endearingly naive as the determined Doinel, forging ahead with more pluck and passion than aptitude. It may be Truffaut's most sweetly romantic film, a knowing man's embrace of eager innocence and storybook sentiment. Doinel returns two years later in Bed and Board.