Charles Aznavour plays a bar pianist who gets mixed up with gangsters in Truffaut’s stylistically playful and daring mix of comedy and wistful drama. Truffaut’s follow-up to The 400 Blows, viewed with mixed feelings at the time, has only grown better with age, demonstrating the breezy serendipity and melancholic nostalgia that epitomize so many of the pleasures of Truffaut and the French New Wave. Dialogue adapted from the David Goodis crime novel Down There.

“The film is comedy, pathos, tragedy all scrambled up—much I think as most of us really experience them (surely all our lives are filled with comic horrors) but not as we have been led to expect them in films.”
—Pauline Kael