Friday, January 11, 2008

Jules & Jim


Jules et Jim; Romantic drama, France, 1962; D: François Truffaut, S: Henri Serre, Oskar Werner, Jeanne Moreau, Vanna Urbino, Boris Bassiak, Marie Dubois

Paris, '39. French student Jim and German painter Jules become the best friends and have fun. Jim already had many girls, while Jules is always lonely. On some Adriatic island they discover the statue of a perfect woman and meet Catherine who resembles her a lot. Surprisingly, she married Jules and leaves with him to a German city. When World War II breaks out, Jim starts worrying that he might get in direct confrontation with Jules. Still, the peace brings comfort and Jim goes to visit him. He finds Jules with a daughter, but also discovers Catherine cheats on him with 3 men. Jim and Jules start sharing her. When Jim abandons her, she invites him in a car and commits suicide with him in a river.

"Jules and Jim" is a quiet romance with anti-romantic elements, one of the best, most unusual films from Francois Truffaut, a classic acting almost as an ode to polyandry. Truffaut shows friends Jules and Jim in a light full of understanding and tenderness, up to the point where they even don't mind to share a girlfriend without argument, which gives the story even slight political connotations. It's an intriguing love triangle, with excellent details: the highlights are, for example, the humorous scene where a woman wears a watch on her leg; a man who pretends to be kissing his girlfriend until the passerbies pass so that he can continue to undisturbed write paroles on wall with her; but also one visually groundbreaking scene, the one where Catherine smiles and the director 'freezes' that enchanting frame. Some fans of the film still argue whom Catherine loved more, but it could have been that it was Jim, considering the tragic ending, while a few silly or dumb scenes don't disrupt the high impression of this classic of French New Wave.

Grade:+++

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