The Little Thief

1988 [FRENCH]

Comedy / Drama

IMDb Rating 6.9 10 2094

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 24, 2022 at 04:14 PM



Charlotte Gainsbourg as Janine Castang
998.56 MB
fre 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 48 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dromasca 8 / 10

Truffaut after Truffaut

We can look at 'La petite voleuse' (1988) in several ways. First of all, the film contains a few landmarks worth being studied in film schools: the last screenplay written by François Truffaut before his death in 1984, entrusted when the director realized that he would no longer have the strength and time to make the film to his friend Claude Berri, who produced the film but commissioned Claude Miller to direct it. Truffaut, Berri, Miller left us together with almost their entire generation, but very present is Charlotte Gainsbourg, who at the age of 17 played in 'La petite voleuse' her first great role. Then this is a film about an almost lost generation, that of the French whose childhood, adolescence and life were diverted from the natural trajectories by war. Finally, it is a film that looks back with lucidity and a little anger from 1988, the year of its realization, to 1950, the year in which the story takes place.

'La petite voleuse' opens with three scenes that seem to belong to a Truffaut movie or are a reverence for the beloved master and friend. A case of stealing takes place in a high school class. The heroine of the film, Janine (Charlotte Gainsbourg), is immediately identified by the camera as the main suspect. We then see her changing her student uniform into the clothes of a grown-up woman. An anthological frame, also present on the movie poster, shows her putting on high-heeled shoes. Going out in the city, her first stop is in front of a cinema hall. She looks at the languid photos of an American star. The quote from 'Les 400 coups' is obvious. Janine, by the way, is Antoine's female alter-ego, the hero of the film that launched Truffaut''s career. They should both have been the heroes of 'Les 400 coups'. To simplify the plot, Truffaut had taken her out of the story, later writing a separate script about her, a film whose filming was delayed her until his passing away. His friends and disciples took over the script and turned 'La petite voleusee' from a generational film into a combination of the genre of the female coming to age movies (I was wondering what would the film have looked like if it was directed by Agnes Varda?) and from time to time of a gangsters road movie like 'Bonnie and Clyde'. Here, too, is the closure of a cycle, for the filmmakers of the legendary American film had also been influenced by the films of the New French Wave. Many of the key scenes take place in the movie theater, which for Truffaut was the center of the universe.

Charlotte Gainsbourg is incredibly young but also incredibly Charlotte Gainsbourg, as we know her growing and evolving artistically in the over 30 years since the film was made. Janine is a rebellious and disoriented girl, looking to make her place among the adults and longing for love, fighting with the world around her through thefts but also with her imagination. A character hard to forget for those who see the movie. Charlotte Gainsbourg is surrounded by a team of good and well-distributed actors, who are all eclipsed by her performance. The reconstruction of the atmosphere of France in the first decade after the war is accurate and credible, excellently marked by the sequences of filmed news reels that put the actions and feelings of the heroes in the context of the time. The only thing we could blame the filmmakers for is the repetition of some ideas in different scenes, which leaves a feeling of rhetorical insistence. Berri and Miller practically gave up their own initiatives and relied on the talent of Charlotte Gainsbourg and the development of ideas from François Truffaut's script. In a way, 'La petite voleuse' can be considered Truffaut's last film.

Reviewed by mjneu59 6 / 10

secondhand Truffaut

It's a good thing this belated tribute to Francois Truffaut was adapted from an original story by the late director himself; otherwise the film might be mistaken for a plagiarism. The story itself is a distaff companion piece to 'The 400 Blows', following a compulsive teenage kleptomaniac in post-War France, whose sticky fingers and rebellious disposition land her in and out of jail, and in and out of love. Charlotte Gainsbourg is certainly appealing in the title role, but Claude Miller's direction is perfunctory, at best; he places each scene in the correct order but has little feeling for the material, other than an obvious respect for its author, whose name alone is enough to lend the film some token credibility. Enough incidental pleasures survive the awkward adaptation to make it a worthwhile diversion for any dedicated Francophile, and a must-see for die-hard Truffaut fans, but the film suffers from an ending that might lead viewers to suspect Miller was working from an incomplete outline.

Reviewed by richard_sleboe 7 / 10

The Jane of Hearts

She steals from the church to go to the movies. Janine, you've got to like her. But her own life is unlike the song-and-dance pictures she likes so much. It's more like a ballad, set to music in a minor key. As Bob Dylan famously put it: "She'd come away from a broken home, had lots of strange affairs, with men in every walk of life which took her everywhere." While Janine may have the genes of a flirt and a crook, it's the men she meets that take her from petty theft to grand larceny. She finds out the hard way there are limits even for a pretty girl and ends up in a nunnery that is half poorhouse, half prison. By showing us what she does, rather than narrating what happens to her, Claude Miller brings to life a story (written by none other than François Truffaut himself) that may easily have turned out corny at a lesser man's hands. The 1950s rural and Parisian sets are designed with just the right mixture of dedication and détente to make you forget it's only make-belief. The whole thing feels entirely natural and deeply touching at the same time. The biggest credit, of course, is due to the amazing Charlotte Gainsbourg and her arresting performance in the part of Janine. She resists the temptation of playing her as a teenage martyr and makes her a cheeky Cinderella instead.

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