LOVE ON THE RUN - K-B Cerberus 3, K-B Janus 1.
For 20 years, Jean-pierre Leaud has been playing Antoine Doinel, and Francois Truffaut's fans have been following him through adolescence, love, marriage, love and now - in "Love On The Run" - divorce and love. One cannot exactly say that the character is developing, though, unless it is understood that development may go in directions other than forward.
This fifth and "Final" picture in the series makes thorough use of clips from the earlier films, forming a reprise or summary of events for people who may have missed "The 400 Blows" (1959), "Love at 20" (1963), "Stolen Kisses" (1969) or "Bed and Board" (1971).
But what becomes increasingly apparent is that the grave, thoughtful child of the first film has at last turned into a completely childish adult. As the style gets increasingly comic, the character surrenders more of his selfhood until there is nothing left but chasing after and running from interchangeable women. References are amde to his literary interests and ambitions, but only as a therapeutic answer to his silly sex problems. "Writing to Settle Old Scores Isn't Art," he is told in the most significant lineof the film.
And yet the film is devoted to nothing but old scores andnew scores. This film has three of them, called Colette, Christine andSabine, and played by three similarly beautiful actresses who express identity through the use of the set jaw: Marie France Pisier, Claude Jade and Dorothee (no last name). Colette, unsucessfully courted in "Love at 20," comes back as a lawyer who must engage in prostitution on the side to make a living; Christine, who is in the apparently more lucrative field of music, is Doinel's wife from whom he is getting France's first no-fault divorce; and Sabine is a record-store clerk he discovers from atorn photograph and the newest in this series of women who inexplicablyfind his erratic behaviour attractive.
There is much that is amusing and prettily photographed, but little to support the idea that Doinel is one of those profoundly immediate characters that show an age its personality.
The continuity itself, in the uncertain film world, will providean attraction to those who have been following Doinel, even if he's going nowhere special. The longevity of the project seems reassurance thatfilm is a medium in which an artist can build over the years, as a painter might with a "Period." A person as dedicated as Truffaut to the idea of director-as-commanding artist could do no less than come up with a body of work.
To those more casual movie-goers who have not accepted the theory - or the man - with reverence, here is a quickie film festival entitling one to keep one up on that branch of cinema talk. CAPTION: Picture, DOROTHEE AND JEAN-PIERRE LEAUD IN A SCENE FROM FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT'S "LOVE ON THE RUN."