Les Mistons

Les Mistons (The Mischief Makers) is a short film directed by François Truffaut in 1957.[1][2] It was his second film after Une Visite in 1955 but it is considered his "first short film of any real consequence".[3][4] Truffaut simply called it "my first real film".[5] Moreover, it was Bernadette Lafont's film debut.[6] She was at that time Gérard Blain's wife.[5][7] The film demonstrates already some examples for Truffaut's "trademark tracking shots" and would "help define his style" as well as "set Truffaut on a path for his career".[8][9] Truffaut's narrative stresses the details of life, hereby establishing one of the traits of the French New Wave. Thus he also became a predecessor of French film directors such as Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie).[10] It has been stated that the formation of the French New Wave could be "tracked through two short films": Jean-Luc Godard's All the Boys Are Called Patrick and Truffaut's Les Mistons.[11] In 2013 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City screened this film together with Truffaut's The 400 Blows.[12][13]

Les Mistons
Directed byFrançois Truffaut
Produced byRobert Lachenay
Written byFrançois Truffaut
Based onVirginales by Maurice Pons
StarringGérard Blain
Bernadette Lafont
Michel François
Narrated byMichel François
Music byMaurice Le Roux
CinematographyJean Malige
Edited byCécile Decugis
Les Films du Carrosse
Release date
6 November 1958
Paris: 3 March 1961
Running time
26 minutes
17 minutes (Truffaut's re-cut version)


The story takes place in Provencal France, where a group of young boys ("mistons" roughly translates "brats") are infatuated with a beautiful young woman. Jealous of her passionate affair, they conspire to make mischief for the woman and her boyfriend.


The film was shot on location in Bernadette Lafont's hometown Nîmes in Southern France.[6][14] It sports the town's Roman arena.[10] It was shot on 35mm film without live sound.[15]

DVD release

In 1999 the film was released on a DVD which also contained Antoine and Colette.[8][16] In 2007 Les Mistons was again released, this time as a part of a DVD collection. The extras included an introduction by film historian Serge Toubiana and an audio commentary by Truffaut's assistant, Claude de Givray.[17][18]


  1. Marshall, Colin (2012-02-27). "Watch Truffaut Become Truffaut in His 1957 Short Film, Les Mistons". openculture.com. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  2. "Les Mistons [François Truffaut, 1957] and Truffaut's Children'". The Cynephile. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  3. Dixon, Wheeler Winston. "Les Mistons (1957)". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  4. Dixon, Wheeler Winston. "Les Mistons". University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  5. Brody, Richard (2010-08-16). "Truffaut's Last Interview". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  6. "Review: Les Mistons". newwavefilm.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  7. "Gérard Blain". telegraph.co.uk. 2000-09-29. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
  8. Nesbit, John. "Les Mistons (1957)". oldschoolreviews.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  9. Johans, Jens. "The Reflection of Life:Truffaut's Adventures of Antoine Doinel'". filmintuition.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  10. "Review: Les Mistons". unifrance.org. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  11. Beaver, Frank. "Talking About the Movies: Remembering the French New Wave". University of Michigan. Archived from the original on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  12. "François Truffaut at MoMA". 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  13. "Film Screenings". Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  14. "Les Mistons". The Film Sufi. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  15. Ewing, Ben. "Les Mistons". notcoming.com. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  16. Zimmer, Mark (2002-07-04). "Two Short Films by François Truffaut: Les Mistons / Antoine & Colette". digitallyobsessed.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  17. Appassamy, Vanessa (2007-07-02). "The Adventures of Antoine Doinel (Truffaut Collection) (1959)". michaeldvd.com.au. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  18. Nguyen, Ed. "The Adventures of Antoine Doinel". dvdmoviecentral.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
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