Click on the pictures to see enlarged versions of the images.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One Dog

(The penultimate image of the 1959 movie The 400
by François Truffaut, 1932-1984, French film

Growing up is hard to do.

In his acclaimed first film
The 400 Blows or Les quatre cents coups, Truffaut tells the tale of one boy’s difficult life. The director does not set out “to depict adolescence from the usual viewpoint of sentimental nostalgia, but . . . to show it as the painful experience that it is.”

Every child needs the security of a loving family for the necessary guidance to a virtuous and mature life. Thirteen-year-old Antoine Doinel is not so lucky. Unhappy and feeling abandoned, he tries to find his own way, to write his own rules for coping with indifferent parents and misguided authorities. The above image from the film shows him at the final steps of his escape to freedom, reaching the edge of the sea. The ending is also a beginning.


I’m a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog and lone,
I’m a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own!
I’m a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep;
I love to sit and bay the moon and keep fat souls from sleep.

I’ll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet,
A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat.
Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate,
But shut door and sharp stone and cuff and kick and hate.

Not for me the other dogs, running by my side,
Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide.
O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best,
Wide wind and wild stars and hunger of the quest.

~ Irene McLeod (1891-1968), English poet

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