La Petite Voleuse

France, 1988 (Claude Miller; 1h 49m)

The eighties were tough for French film, Jon explained, Hollywood in some sort of ascendancy. But we were introduced to all sorts of answers, and this was the most intriguing.

It would be easy to wrap ”The Little Thief” in nostalgia, to treasure it as the last legacy of Francois Truffaut. Before his death in 1984, Truffaut had written, with Claude de Givray, a brief scenario for the story of Janine, a neglected, spirited, imaginative adolescent of the 1950’s. He had invented the girl more than 20 years before as Antoine Doinel’s companion in ”The 400 Blows,” but had cut the character from that film and carried her image to the end of his life.

”The Little Thief” was to have been Truffaut’s next film, and if he had lived to make it, it would have taken him full circle, back to his first feature and the subjects of childhood and adolescence that so intrigued him. Before he died, he asked the producer and director Claude Berri to take over the project, which Mr. Berri finally steered to Claude Miller, who is best known for the thriller ”Garde a Vue,” and who worked as Truffaut’s assistant director for many years.

Despite all these practical and sentimental connections, ”The Little Thief” is not Truffaut’s last film. It stands on its own as a charming, insightful work commanded by Charlotte Gainsbourg’s beautiful, deft, touching performance. As Janine, she is a lost lamb trying desperately to be grown-up and independent, daring to be bad. Though ”The Little Thief” lacks the immense grace and fluid camera work of Truffaut, it is a remarkable character portrait full of wit, charm and sadness.

Caryn James, New York Times

Date: Thu. 25/06
Time: 11:30
Source: DVD
In the Square: No

Date: June 25th, 2020
Time: 11:30am
Finishes at: 1:20pm

Source(s):
  • DVD