Grams had a rude shock the other day, she saw a recent picture of Jean Pierre Léaud. “Oh my, my, my, he’s aged, Gweeds.” My lips remained firmly sealed. You see, Grams and Léaud are the same age (she might even be a tad older, I will say no more).
The first time that Grams saw Léaud was in the film “Les Quatre Cents Coups” (Four Hundred Blows), directed by Francois Truffaut, where he played Antoine Doinel for the first time. 'Doinel' was the alter ego of Truffaut. A lot of folks think that this is just a film about a boy who bunks off from school and ends up in a juvenile detention camp. What Grams saw was the heartbreak of a child who knows he is not loved. At home he is a nuisance, a bother. The only time that he can escape his loneliness is in the cinema. It is the only place he can find love: in films. Grams can still whistle the theme from that film (she can whistle the themes from several classic foreign films, but that is for another time).
Léaud grew up and played the adult Antoine Doinel in many Truffaut films: “L’Amour à vingt ans” (Love at Twenty), “Antoine et Colettte”, “Baisers voles” (Stolen Kisses), “Domicile Conjugal” (Bed and Board), and “L’amour en Fuite” (Love on the Run). He also acted in many other films and for other new wave directors. One of his most hilarious was as an egocentric actor in “La Nuit Americaine” (Day for Night).
Since Grams hadn’t seen a film of Léaud’s for many years when she ran across the photo (right side of collage), she was taken aback. But she recovered. It reminded me of when she and her friend Connie went to their 30th high school reunion. Grams said to Connie, “Oooh, look how they’ve all aged!” Connie smiled and said to Grams, “You’re right! Good thing we haven’t!” Grams laughed and said, “You got that right!”
Grams showed me the photo of Jean Pierre. “Look, he does the same thing with his mouth,” I said, “I’d have known him anywhere.” “You think?” she asked. “Oh definitely!” Somehow, that made her feel better.
Here is an interesting thought piece on Jean Pierre Léaud.
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