Stories & Fiction

Review & Synopsis: The 400 Blows (1959), and Analyzing Post-WW II France

The 400 Blows (1959) presents the then France as it was. The troubled life of Antoine is saddening yet witty and his troubles glorify the grandeur of French Cinema. An important movie of the French new wave.


Official Poster of The 400 Blows

The 400 Blows (1959), official poster

Seeing the Paris of 50s’ is like watching a Cabaret with a glass of Chardonnay in one hand and Romeo y Juliet on the other. The black and white texture gives a stark contrast between the backdrop and the characters (The backdrop blends in with the scene and never once overshadows the forefront characters). The plots are simpler and the story is the simplest of them all. Can it be called a worthy contemporary of the Neo-realism? Well, Yes!

The 400 Blows explores the underlying ideas of post-war french society and its effects on the younger generation. Set in the 2nd half of 20th century, the time of greater inventions and sociopolitical improvements, the modus operandi is a clash between new and older France. Antoine Doinel (JeanPierre Léaud), the protagonist, carries the sole tiresome weight of the new wave cinema over his tiny shoulders throughout the movie. He, a figure of hope for every teenagers who have been struggling with their emotional tragedies and identity crisis, gives life to the troubled character of Antoine, a troublemaker.

François Truffaut’s (Director) approach has been to show the world his own younger life through a cinematic kaleidoscope. The movie may seem like the reflection of today’s world, because it’s about the everyday story of us. Other than the emotions and tragedy, he succeeded in adding some wit to the script, which could have been much more sadder than it’s generally seen.

To add further, The 400 Blows also belongs to an Escapist genre. The French New Wave it is, but it also carries the qualities of Escapist cinema. The protagonist and the very motive of the movie establish a point of escaping the brutal past, be it a personal troubled life or the scar left by the war. The then society is the very villain of the movie, and Antoine solely survives its wrath.



The movie starts with an opening scene showing Eiffel Tower of Paris, France.

The movie starts with an opening scene showing Eiffel Tower of Paris, France.

The All Boys School, the students are seen poking fun at the lecturer

The All Boys School, the students are seen poking fun at the lecturer

One of Antoine Doinel's classmate, dancing his way off the street

One of Antoine Doinel’s classmate, dancing his way off on the street, “Ah! Ah! Ah!..Stayin alive!!”

Children reacting while watching a Puppet show

Children reacting while watching a Puppet show

Antoine and his friend comprehends a double-crosser who tries stealing their typewriter

Antoine and his friend comprehends a double-crosser who tries stealing his typewriter

Antoine's thrown into a cell after he's nabbed by his father and after being handed over to the police

Antoine’s thrown into a cell after he’s nabbed by his father and is handed over to the police

Left: Antoine looking outside the police van, Right: He's crying over his unfortunte fate

Left: Antoine looking outside the police van, Right: He’s crying over his unfortunate fate

One of the most powerful scenes, Antoine makes a cigarette out of tobacco and stray paper inside his cell

One of the most powerful scenes, Antoine makes a cigarette out of tobacco and stray paper, inside his cell

Antoine's punished by the monitor of the Juvenile Detention Home for eating before everyone else started

Antoine’s punished by the monitor of the Juvenile Detention Home for eating before everyone else

3 young girls, probably aged 5-7, are locked up inside a cell of the Detention' Home

Another powerful scene; the 3 young girls, probably aged 5-7, are seen locked up inside a cell of the detention home.

Final scene of The 400 Blows

The protagonist, Antoine Doinel, runs away from the Detention in search of an unseen future –possibly, a happier one


Analyzing Post-WW II France

Post-WW II France, a nation formerly occupied and controlled by the Axis power, was built on an idea of escaping it’s horrendous past. To assimilate with the western nations, France introduced teaching English in their schools. Proper etiquette, better education and brighter future were as important the social issues back in France as they are now everywhere. The treatment of naivety was harsher with greater repercussions; nevertheless, the government believed that was the right way to improve its already ill-manifested denizens.

American Army trucks parade down the Champs-Elysées the day after the liberation of Paris by French and Allied troops, August 1944

American Army trucks parade down the Champs-Elysées, Aug 1944

The inhumane approach of treating the culprit was well observed in the then France. Children for their delinquency were reprimanded and isolated. [In one scene of the movie, 3 girls, possibly younger than 10, are seen caged inside the detention center. Those young kids left alone by their parents for their just misdeed are treated with such rebuke that even the current treatments of the correctional facilities around the world may seem childish.]

French new wave took an initiative of showing everything that was wrong with France and its modus oprandi. It’s idealism were mere doctrines which badly needed to be updated. [There’s no way but to escape the horrendous brutality of the system, and escape is what the protagonist does. He escapes his tragic familial confinement, then he escapes from the juvenile detention home.]

The 400 Blows “Les Quatre cent coups” (1959)

Directed by François TruffautWritten by F. Truffaut and Marcel Moussy, Produced by F. Truffaut and Georges CharlotStarring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Calire Maurier and others

Distributed by Cocinor


ROOM 237: Unraveling the Mysteries of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980)

“Symmetry, subtlety, and the thin line between civility and barbarism.” — Kevin Ernest Long

I’m in this passionate love with Stanley Kubrick’s mind. I wonder, how he finds these undefinable elements and adds depth to his characters. The deafening silence that prolongs the plots of his movies and the sudden yet subtle explode of climax is unimaginable. My love for Kubrick is based on his story-lines crafted with finesse and his actors who add mcharm to their characters with infinite improvisations and retakes.

Kubrick montage

A true perfectionist, Stanley Kubrick is quite the smartest and intelligent film-maker ever.

ROOM 237

An exemplary examining documentary on Kubrick’s masterpiece, The Shining (1980), and the obscure elements existing in the movie.

Offering diverse theories yet controversial, these film fanatics unravel the mysteries hidden in Kubrick’s movie. As it may sound crazy, the theories presented are personal findings and recollections of people who dedicated an important portion of their life decoding the movie’s messages.

Official Poster; Room 237

Official Poster; Room 237

ROOM 237 takes you to an Odyssey inside Kubrick’s mind! Dissected and displayed in front on the table, these are the showcase of various ideas pertaining to historic and cultural facts embedded into his movie which are finally revealed. They presumably fail to justify the authenticity of their hypothesis, as it cannot be validated with Kubrick who is no longer alive, however, the suggestions made by these experts were the eternal part of Kubrick’s life which can or do relate to his film-making style.

There are 9 segments, each decoding the metaphors which were possibly intentionally added by Kubrick during the filming to embed the message he wished to deliver yet denied public from seeing it. An exemplification of product marketing —Subliminal Marketing.

Some of the most Horrifying Theories

#1 The Fake Moon Landing (Apollo 11)

One theorist suggests that the Apollo 11 landing on the moon was faked, moreover, it was produced by Kubrick in a Hollywood studio. He points out that he found telltale signs of front projection used in moon landing footage, which is primarily used during film-making. Also, there are subliminal signs in the various plots of the movie that suggests that Kubrick intentionally embedded those images that profess that the landing was faked.

Room 237 of the hotel room is the base of all the nastiness and evil. In this very room, Jack encounters a ghost and hence starts being lunatic. Later Danny stops by the room staring at the very door, like he suspects there is something hidden inside -things he mustn’t know. Dick Hallorann, a chef, confirms Danny’s doubt by declaring the fact that he must never talk or care about Room 237. It’s prohibited from Danny’s eyes as well as the truth of moon landing’s prohibited from the public.

This very room also defines a part of Kubrick’s life he contracted to NASA and could never profess about it to anyone else. It’s a burden and regret he carried all his life that he wished to relive and so he did through The Shining, 11 years later.

He (Theorist) points to the knitted Apollo 11 sweater that Danny wears, and the fact that a carpet pattern resembles the Apollo launching pad as evidence that the film is an elaborate apology of sorts for Kubrick’s involvement.

#2 The Holocaust

Another theorist suggests, the movie is about The Holocaust.  He connects Jack’s sinister recitation of the Big Bad Wolf’s refrain to a Disney production where the wolf is an anti-Semitic caricature. Kubrick always wanted to make a movie based on the events of The Holocaust, however, he later dropped the whole idea.

It’s suggested that Kubrick sympathized with the whole holocaust thing. His prior life was mostly influenced by the horrifying events of WW II in Europe, and he showed the same through his movie by embedding subtle imagery of Nazi brutality and genocide of Jews. He’s an auteur, re-exhibiting the memories of Holocaust through The Shining.

A typewriter in most of the scenes plays prominent role. It’s randomly shown almost all the time in the movie. Typewriters played prominent role during Nazi occupation as well. Its extensive use in typing out and making a list of Jewish population was humongous during The Holocaust. If your are to watch The Schindler’s List, typewriters are extensively used and shown during the entire span of the movie.


#3 The Genocide of Native Americans

Kubrick’s ability to insert sublime elements in his movies is well known. In many instances, through the scenes and dialogues, Kubrick tried exemplifying the genocide that occurred in the greater American landscape against Native Americans.

The use of cans of Calumet Baking Powder in the backdrop, the poster of a Native hanging by the wall and the iconic elevator scene where the blood floods the whole hallway -suggests the height of American Imperialism which crushed the repression of Natives. Despite our denial throughout the history, Kubrick suggested that the truth shall come out either way and we must repent our wrongdoing one day. In the movie, it’s the gushing out of a flood of blood from nowhere.

In an early scene, the hotel’s manager, Stuart Ullman, claims that the property was build on the site of native American’s burial ground. Therefore, the scene where the blood is flooding the hallway signifies the very blood of those crushed souls which are buried beneath.


The Shining (Movie) Vs The Shining (Book)

Written by Stephen King, The Shining (1976) explores the objectives of paranormal in a rural hotel site and how a sane man is possessed by lunacy and is compelled to turn blood-thirsty for his own family. When Kubrick adopted the story, King stepped in with his creative inputs for the movie, however, after the movie was produced, it turned out to be way different than the book which infuriated King on a creative ground.

King’s important themes, such as the disintegration of the family and the dangers of alcoholism, were ignored. He quoted;

What’s basically wrong with Kubrick’s version of The Shining is that it’s a film by a man who thinks too much and feels too little; and that’s why, for all its virtuoso effects, it never gets you by the throat and hangs on the way real horror should.

Stanley Vs Stephen

Stanley Vs Stephen

Kubrick along with Diane Johnson co-wrote the entire movie. As assumed by the theories presented, he had everything different in his mind about it. His motive was not to present what King had created but what he witnessed in his life. Jack Torrance is Stanely Kubrick and The Shining is his own story.

The movie confuses you in most levels and makes you wonder; how come Jack is possessed by a demon, why does he keep seeing things that do not exist moreover interact with them, and why does Jack appears in the picture dated 1921 shown at the end of the film. It leaves a sense of wandering and exploration that doesn’t end with the movie. It’s his trademark style. There are various levels of psychological elements involved with the project, most of which are decoded and published by Room 237.

Be it The Holoacust, the genocide of natives, fake moon landing, the myth of Minotaur and his labyrinth or the psychologial englihtment of little Danny throughout the entire span, the movie silently takes your away into a journey that resembles 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). A masterpiece, a cult and possibly the smartest movie ever made!

Room 237 (2012)

Directed by Rodney Ascher, Produced by Tim Kirk, Starring: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan and Jay Weidner

Distributed by IFC Films, IFC Midnight

Why I sympathize with (Blue) Jasmine? Jasmine Vs Blanche DuBois

As mentioned in the title itself, I shall only and only be talking about the character of Cate Blanchett in her 2013 movie, Blue Jasmine (Dir. Woody Allen). Following the uproar of audiences and critics regarding Woody’s new movie’s vast similarity to Tennessee William‘s novel and her character Blanche Dubois, I’ve considered comparing the two leads.

Who is (Blue) Jasmine?

(Blue) Jasmine or Jeanette Francis was an adopted child spoiled by her parents since her early age. Raised in a homely environment, she grew up to be successful than her sister Ginger (also adopted) in finding a better (richer) husband and uptown life. She loves the song BLUE MOON by The Lorenz Hart-Richard Rodgers, which she keeps relating to a moment she spent with Hal when they first dated. Dropped out of the final year in the college, she marries a business tycoon, Hal, and lives a lavish life in her Park Avenue home, sometimes, Hampton; often touring Europe, sailing, cruising and shopping in Manhattan and Monte Carlo, before being busted for Hal’s financial scams, and later being bankrupted.

On her last legs, Jasmine’s left poor. She moves into Ginger’s place in San Francisco and tries her luck being an independent woman. She has a fine taste for men and hooks up with this rich yet loving widower, Dwight, while lying about her past. She’s abruptly dumped by Dwight after finding out the truth. In despair and delusion, she walks out of Ginger’s home only to find her place on the streets, contemplating on her misdeeds yet being nostalgic and remembering the song Blue Moon.

~Jasmine Vs Blanche DuBois~

Here are some of the major contrasting difference I find in Jasmine and Blanche. Jasmine (nee. Jeanette) is a delusional, pretentious, alcoholic, pill-popping and nervous-wreck protagonist of Woody Allen’s movie –Blue Jasmine (2013), whereas, Blanche DuBois is a delusional, pretentious, alcoholic and nervous-wreck protagonist of Tennessee William’s book –A Streetcar named Desire (1947). Blanche’s left a mad woman at the end, whereas, Jasmine’s left with a broken soul. Blanche’s unable to connect with reality, whereas, Jasmine’s living in a surreal spectrum. Blanche’s searching for a companion and a shoulder to cry on, whereas, Jasmine’s looking for a rich guy who can give her Golden days back. Jasmine talks to herself or create a imaginary audience to talk to when being alone, Blanche seems non-interacting with herself but keeping her thoughts to herself often debating with herself inside her mind. Blanche’s afraid of her fading beauty, while, Jasmine is content with her long-lasting youth.

Blue Jasmine Vs Blanche Dubois

Blue Jasmine Vs Blanche Dubois

Some major similarities are; the pretentious parade of Status Quo never leaves any of them, while both are often haunted by their pasts. Hailing from the South, both of them spend most of their time drinking and being delusional.

Jasmine as well as Blanche demands for pity and greater sympathy from the audience. Both are lost souls.

In Reel Life

Jasmine is a strong-willed woman and she does what is required from her to get back on her knees, whereas, Blanche strikes as a low self-esteemed, self-assuring and a non-competing woman.  Jasmine’s a modern day Blanche with a striking personality and a bag of Chanel.

Why I Sympathize with (Blue) Jasmine?

Jasmine enters the screen with her Southern charm and wit. Despite her bankruptcy, she flies first class. She carries this panache of royalty that even her sister, who has known her the entire life, is amused by her presence. Wrecked by her former marriage, damaged personality and financial loss, she finds her recluse in her pills; anti-depressant and anti-stress.

She can’t find a proper job nor complete her studies. More often, she’s lost in the state of delusions; talking to herself on the middle of the street and staring at blank spaces. She despises having an affair with least-charming or least-rich men.

She’s the only reason why her husband went to jail and died, the only reason why her step-son left home and started a meager life in a record shop, and the only reason why she couldn’t find a better life post-conviction, failing miserably in everything else she tries her hand in, except spending money and posing.

She’s glorifies a disillusioned persona who can’t keep up with the reality; can’t accept life as it is and abandons every important relationships one can ever enjoy in life. Narcissist by nature and highly pretentious, she loses everything she ever owned, except her Chanel bag and set of posh couture.

By the end of the movie, Jasmine is nothing more than a pill-popping hobo in the state of trance and a zombie sitting alone on the street waiting for something unreachable.

I have a soft spot for people like Jasmine. I disdain them yet feel a regret for witnessing a sad period of their life. May she had made gazillions of mistakes, she’s now a woman in distress and a lone survivor. She got what she’s supposed to get, therefore, she deserves my sympathy.


This is how Vanity Fair puts Blue Jasmine:

“Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine Is Perhaps His Cruelest-Ever Film.”

Blue Jasmine (2013)

Directed & Written by Woody Allen, Produced by Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum and Edward Walson, Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, C.K. Louis, Sally Hawking, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Saarsgard and others

Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics

Norman smiling in the last scence

Review & Synopsis: Psycho (1960), and Character Analysis of Norman Bates

A Magnum Opus, a Cult, a movie of epic proportion, a brilliant visual production of a crime fiction; whatever one says about ‘Pscyho’, it will be lesser to describe the importance of the movie.

The inexorable forces of past sins and mistakes crush hopes for regeneration and present happiness.

-Lesley Brill


Psycho (1960) is Alfred Hitchcock’s own blood and soul. Despite being one of those rare movies produced in B&W during a commercially flourishing Technicolor film era, it managed to capture audiences’ attention through its subtle simple colored portraits, eerie sound effects and great direction. It, undeniably, can be called one of the masterpieces of American cinema.

Psycho Poster

Psycho (1960) Official Poster

The major theme of Psycho, as usual in Hitchcock’s any other films, revolves around; Love, SEX, betrayal, crime, cold-blood murder and psychopaths. A batter of neo-noir mashed with Suspense and Thriller, the movie’s a visual concoction of prevailing crimes of post 1950s and consumerism.

A simple Thriller drama comprising of yet simpler elements of an everyday film; a gorgeous woman (Starlet), psychopaths, intense background score, police investigation and crime, takes your breath away with its perfectly timed sequences, sound effects and well-woven plots which was unusual in movies that came before Psycho.

With common substances from Hitchcock-ian crafts, Psycho did prove a controversial film of its time, however, it did manage to grab audiences’ attention and critics’ praise over the time; and it managed to secure a Cult status. The sound, story, cinematography, fabulous acting by Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates) and greater direction by Alfred Hitchcock easily puts this movie in the top of the list of Best Suspense-Thriller/Drama movies ever made.



(Psycho through Screenshots)

View of Phoenix, Arizona

View of Phoenix, Arizona shown at the start of the movie

Marion Crane making love with her boyfriend

Marion Crane making love with her boyfriend in a hotel room

Marion tries fleeing the city after embezzling $40,000 of her Boss's money

Marion tries fleeing the city after embezzling $40,000 of her Boss’s money

Marion driving through Interstate 10

Marion driving through Interstate 10

Bates Motel Sign

The Bates Motel Sign that Marion sees while on the road

Norman Bates telling his story

Norman Bates, the Bates motel owner, telling his story to Marion

Marion lying dead

Marion is dramatically killed in a shower by a mysterious looking woman, possibly Norman’s mother

Norman dumps Marions and her car in a pond

Norman, being an obedient son, dumps Marion and her car in a nearby pond

Norman scared with Detectives questions

A Detective is sent from Phoenix to investigate on Marion’s whereabouts. He questions Norman

Norman outsmarts the detective

Norman assumes he well hid the fact about Marion’s disappearance and gives a subtle smile

Norman crosdressed as his mother trying to kill lila

Norman, cross-dressed as his mother, tries killing Lila. it’s revealed that he was the guilty of killing Marion but his mother

Corpse of Nroman Bates deceased mother

Marion’s sister Lila tries investigating about on the matter herself. In the process, she finds a desiccated corpse of Norman’s mother

Norman confined in psychiatric ward

Police nabs Norman and sends him to a psychiatric ward. It’s revealed then that he has a disassociated identity disorder. he is both ‘Norman’ and his Mother

~Different Shades of Norman Bates’ (The Anti-hero) Character~

Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) is the antagonist of the ‘Psycho’. Norman is suffering from Disassociated Identity Disorder and he generally lives two different lives. Whatever he does or speak greatly differs with the character he exudes.

His two lives; first, as himself, ‘Norman Bates’ aka the son, is a caring and loving lad, a conscientious and civic in all manners possible, is a Hero of the film. He inspires Marion to admit her guilt and do the right thing. He desires to live in a better society. A hardworking and dedicated citizen.

His second life, as his deceased mother aka Mrs. Bates is a dominating and evil. She controlled her son during his juvenile. She, jealous of other women and a victim of infidelity, protected Norman from any outwardly or worldly influences. Her controlling nature motivated him to kill the woman who he finds attractive. She planted the hatred in her son against womanhood and love.

Norman smiling in the last scence

Norman sarcastically smiling at the Camera

An obedient son and a dominating mother, are Norman’s two lives. To suppress the death of his mother and his ruined adolescence, He often is possessed by his mother and he does things what his mother would aspire to do.

A loner, Norman desires woman’s company and love, but he can’t profess his liking or initiate any relationship with them in fear of his mothers reprimands. He is the predecessor of every psychopaths of the movies that were made after Psycho.

Psycho (1960)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Written by Robert Bloch, Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles and others

Distributed by Paramount Pictures (Original) & Universal Pictures


Character of Norman Bates & Making of Psycho (1960) @Wikipedia

Antonio on cycle chased by men

Review & Synopsis: Bicycle Thieves ‘Ladri di Biciclette’ (1948)

Bicycle Thieves or Ladri de biciclette (1948) is an Italian Neorealism film directed by Vittorio De Sica. A film of Magnum Opus proportion.

Italian Neorealism (Italian: Neorealismo) is a national film movement characterized by stories set amongst the poor and the working class […] mostly contend with the difficult economic and moral conditions of Italian post–WWII.



“It’s a story of an everyday man. His despairs populate the script and struggles entertain the audience.”

Bicycle-thieves-coverThe more you write about it, the more it seems to be lesser, not in density but in charm of words which fails to suffice the magnificence of the film. De Sica’s generous vision of working out with non-professional actors in creating a realist and heart-wrenching story is amazing.

Poverty and crime, the most lauded about subjects in literature seem a mere story when the real events turn out of a just life of people living in the shadow of Post-WWII Italy.

One may find flaws in the actors, however, you must not forget that the casts are all actually Non-professionals. Said that, it’d be naive to assume, Lamberto Maggiorani (Antonio Ricci) and Enzo Staiola (Bruno Ricci) lack passion in delivering their characters. The characters which will be remembered till the end of time.



(Bicycle Thieves through Screenshots)

Antonio Ricci lands a job

Beginning: Antonio Ricci, a jobless father and husband, is offered a job of sticking film-posters on street walls, in a condition that he bring along a bicycle.

Antonio asks his wife for money to buy a bicycle

Antonio cannot produce a bicycle by himself. He asks his wife for financial hep.

Antonio's wife decide to sell bed sheets she bought as dowry

In hope of better future, she decides to sell the bed sheets she bought along in her marriage.

Antonio and his wife cheer for a life to come

Antonio manages to buy a bicycle. Both husband and wife look pleased.

Bruno Antonio's son cleaning the bicycle

Bruno Ricci, Antonio’s plucky young son, inspects the bicycle. He best puts his accent and mafioso swagger. Enzo looks less like a child and more like a midget, in the film.

Antonio's first day on job

The First day of Job: Antonio learns the trade. The same day, a young lad steals his bicycle.

Antonio and Bruno at petrol pump

Antonio looks at his young kid waiting for him on the street, in hope that the kid’ll ride back home in his father’s new bicycle.

Antonio and his friends decide to retrieve the stolen bicycle

ntonio, along with his friends, decide to recover the bicycle from stolen-goods market

Antonio runs on the fear of his sons life

As the search turns out in despair, Antonio becomes restless and cranky. He hits Bruno.

Client sulking over his luck at fortune teller's place

Bruno Antonio’s son cleaning the bicycle

Antonio apprehends the thief

Antonio nabs the young lad who stole his bike and apprehend him in public, however, the whole event creates a fuss, inviting public attendants to intervene

In despair Antonio looks for other opportunities

In lack of evidences and witnesses offered by Antonio, the young lad is set free and unharmed.

Tired and lost Antonio with his son

Both father and son seem contemplating.

Antonio about to steal a bicycle

Lost and in despair, he decides to steal a bicycle from the street.

Antonio on cycle chased by men

He’s briefly chased and is nabbed by some men

Antonios apprehended while-stealing a bicycle by some men

Antonio faces public humiliation and dismay. The fact that his own son witnessed the whole incident creates an awkward situation.

Antonio walks towards uncertain future

Antonio, along with his son, is seen walking towards the uncertain future [End Credit rolls]


Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Directed by Vittorio De Sica, Written by Luigi Bartolini, Produced by PDS Produzioni De Sica, Stephen Tenenbaum and Edward Walson, Starring: Lamberto Maggiorni, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell and others