François Truffaut’s breakthrough short Les Mistons (The Brats, 1957) is an idyllic film of summer, romance, childhood – and tragedy. As I noted in my essay on the film in Senses of Cinema 38, “François Truffaut’s Les Mistons was the director’s first short film of any real consequence. Truffaut had completed one short narrative film before in 16mm, Une Visite (1955), which had the distinction of being shot by Jacques Rivette and edited by Alain Resnais, both then members of the critical circle at Cahiers du Cinéma.
Une Visite was shot very simply in Jacques Doniol-Valcroize’s apartment, and was considered an experiment by all concerned, but all the participants in the project were dissatisfied with the results. Truffaut was subsequently working on the script that would become Les Quatre cents coups (1959), but found financing difficult to come by, and decided to go ahead with Les Mistons instead.”
It was a smart move; this moving, seemingly evanescent short film is one of Truffaut’s most romantic, and most personal works; you can read my essay here.