François Truffaut’s Stolen Kisses (1968) — the third movie in his Antoine Doinel films — is something of an oddity. It is dedicated to Henry Langlois and his Cinematheque Francais. The opening credits are in part over the closed Museum of Cinema. The film later makes passing references to the political and cultural unrest that was part of that closing — events Truffaut took a stand on. But the film itself takes place in a kind of vacuum. None of what was really going on in Paris at the time seems to intrude into this lightweight film about the further adventures of Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) — a somewhat bittersweet, but mostly charming work. Why Truffaut takes this apolitical approach is unclear, though it’s possible that he simply thought — and maybe rightly — that the largely self-involved Antoine wouldn’t fit into the reality of the time. Instead, we get a slightly meandering movie that merely follows Antoine from the point of being kicked out of the army through a series of usually short-lived jobs and up to the moment he proposes to Christine Darbon (Claude Jade).
In terms of events, Stolen Kisses is not heavy stuff. We see Antoine working at a hotel, being conned by a private detective, losing his job, getting a job at the detective agency. This in turn leads to a stint at a shoe store — working undercover — a brief affair with the boss’s wife (Delphine Seyrig), another job, etc. It’s almost featherweight, but that seems to be the point. We just spend time with the appealing, but not particularly ambitious — except as concerns his pursuit of Christine — or especially scrupulous Antoine. It’s simply a pleasant 90 minutes that has the benfit of being playfully reminiscent of Truffaut’s early films made during the first breath of the French New Wave.
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Stolen Kisses Friday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com