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Sunday, June 1, 2008

SMALL CHANGE (1976)

L’ARGENT DE POCHE (literally POCKET MONEY, though unrelated to the 1972 Paul Newman/Lee Marvin pic) shows Francois Truffaut in the loosest mode of his late works & it looks better than ever. We get to know a passel of kids as they hop, skip & bump into the small but real crises of school & home in those "near-puberty" years. Truffaut doesn’t overwork anything; the kids are all screen naturals, but not stars, which only adds to audience identification & enchantment. A facile explication on an abused boy’s anti-social behavior is too pat, but even here the visual observations are breathtakingly accurate. And a spark of pure Leo McCarey slapstick fizzes up from all the kids. If you don't mind allusions to farcical sex jokes and don't feel prudish, it's a great film for introducing sub-titles to 'tweens' .  They'll want to read every line.

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