"After a troubled childhood, Truffaut joined the French army, deserted and was sentenced to a prison term. Critic Andre Bazin helped secure his release and encouraged his interest in film. In Bazin's influential journal, Cahiers du Cinéma, Truffaut published "Une Certaine Tendance du Cinema Francais" ("A Certain Tendency in French Cinema") in 1954, proposing what came to be known as the auteur theory. A reaction against the bloated "Tradition of Quality" cinema in France, the article was a plea for a more personal cinema and an informal manifesto for the New Wave, which had not yet broken on the shores of French film.
As a filmmaker, Truffaut began by making shorts (Une Visite, 1954, Les Mistons, 1957) and working as an assistant to Roberto Rossellini. In 1959 he completed his first feature-length film, the semi-autobiographical childhood story The Four Hundred Blows, about a troubled adolescent, Antoine Doinel. Truffaut went on to chronicle Doinel's youth and young adulthood in the "Antoine and Colette" episode of Love at Twenty (1962), Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed and Board (1970) and Love on the Run (1979), all films featuring the same actor, Jean-Pierre Leaud, as Antoine."