Jean-Pierre Léaud: The New Wave and After

1/18/08 to 2/29/08

If the French New Wave has a face, it might be the beaky, piercing-eyed visage of Jean-Pierre Léaud. Léaud made his debut at age 15 in François Truffaut's The 400 Blows; over the next two decades, he would play alter ego to Truffaut, Godard, and Jean Eustache, and to a generation that grew up (or failed to) along with him. We present a selection of films in which Léaud is compelling, brilliantly comic, and never less than iconic.

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  • Masculine Feminine, February 14

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Past Films

  • La vie de Bohème

    • Friday, February 29 7:00 pm

    Aki Kaurismäki's update of Henri Murger's novel is “a fine, deceptively querulous comedy that mocks the conventions of art and romantic love while . . . exalting them as the only means of salvation.”-N.Y. Times. Léaud puts in a brief but pivotal appearance.

  • Irma Vep

    • Friday, February 29 9:00 pm

    Olivier Assayas casts Hong Kong icon Maggie Cheung as an actress suffering through ego battles and other disasters on a French indie film shoot, with a classically irascible Léaud as director.

  • Out 1: Spectre

    • Sunday, February 17 1:00 pm

    The 240-minute “short” version of Jacques Rivette's legendary epic, with Léaud as a self-styled detective.

  • Weekend

    • Friday, February 15 7:00 pm

    “Godard's vision of bourgeois cataclysm. . . . A savage Swiftian satire, it traces a new Gulliver's travels through the collapsing consumer society as a married couple set out for a weekend jaunt.”-Time Out. Léaud has a revolutionary cameo.

  • Masculine Feminine

    • Thursday, February 14 8:50 pm

    Léaud stars as one of Godard's “children of Marx and Coca-Cola”-the young people of Paris in 1965, choosing between la tendresse and politics.

  • The Mother and the Whore

    • Friday, February 8 7:00 pm

    Léaud gives perhaps his greatest performance as a castaway from the sixties and the sexual revolution, waffling between two women, in Jean Eustache's chronicle of disenchantment in post-1968 Paris.

  • Two English Girls

    • Thursday, January 31 6:30 pm

    Léaud is a French writer entangled with two English sisters at the turn of the 20th century. “One of Truffaut's most tantalizing romances. . . . Simultaneously introspective and passionate.”-Time Out. From a story by the author of Jules and Jim.

  • Love on the Run

    • Friday, January 25 7:00 pm

    In 1979, Truffaut and Léaud return for a final look at Antoine Doinel, now thirty-something, but perennially adolescent.

  • Day for Night

    • Friday, January 25 9:00 pm

    Léaud joins an ensemble cast for a behind-the-scenes romantic comedy in which the love interest is cinema itself. “Truffaut's droll and generous celebration of filmmaking remains an enchanting experience.”-N.Y. Times

  • La Chinoise

    • Wednesday, January 23 6:30 pm

    See Friday, January 18.

  • Bed and Board

    • Wednesday, January 23 8:30 pm

    In this bittersweet fourth installment in Truffaut's Antoine Doinel saga, Léaud's character endures the travails of young married life.

  • Stolen Kisses

    • Saturday, January 19 6:30 pm

    Léaud as Truffaut's quintessential dreamer Antoine Doinel, flitting through 1968 Paris in search of love and livelihood. With short Antoine and Colette.

  • The 400 Blows

    • Friday, January 18 7:00 pm

    Introduced by Laura Truffaut. A 15-year-old Léaud made his debut as François Truffaut's alter ego Antoine Doinel in the quintessential coming-of-age film, a lyrical but unsentimental portrait of adolescence and of Paris.

  • La Chinoise

    • Friday, January 18 9:10 pm

    A new print of Godard's 1967 Pop-agitprop portrait of revolutionary youth, including an ardent Léaud. “Feels like a trial run for the May 1968 revolution. See it by any means necessary!”-Time Out N.Y. Repeated on Wednesday, January 23.