Jules and Jim (1962)

Jules and Jim
Directed by Francois Truffaut
Written by Francois Truffaut and Jean Gruault from a novel by Henri-Pierre Roche
1962/France
Les Films du Carrosse/Sedif Productions
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

 

Catherine: You said, “I love you,” I said, “Wait.” I was going to say, “Take me,” you said, “Go away.”

This classic so perfectly captures the exhilaration of love and youth that I am always surprised when things turn sour.

The film is set in the teens of the last century.  Austrian Jules (Oskar Werner) and Parisian Jim (Henri Serre) are introduced and immediately become fast friends. Jim is more of the ladies man of the two but eventually Jules finds himself a lady friend.  All bets are off when Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) comes along on a blind date.  Now all three of them are besties but it is Jules that becomes her lover.

Catherine is the ultimate free spirit and is not easily tied down.  There is a definite attraction between her and Jim as well.  WWI intervenes with the two men fighting on opposite sides.  Their principal worry is not killing each other.  After the war, the friends are reunited. Jules wants to marry and Catherine makes an approach to Jim.  Signals are crossed and the wedding goes forward, producing a daughter.

Catherine continues to be restless, leading to tragic complications.

I first saw this one at exactly the age when I thought Catherine was the epitome of everything a young woman should be.  Now she strikes me as selfish.  At any rate, the spirit of the thing is completely infectious.  The camera work is audacious and fun.  This is my favorite of Truffaut’s films.  Highly recommended.

The Criterion contains two excellent commentaries – one by various crewmembers and the other a conversation between Jeanne Moreau and a film scholar.  Someone remarked that it would be impossible to make the same story now without a hint of ambiguity in the relationship between the two men,

Trailer

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