Jules et Jim

Movie Information

In Brief: François Truffaut's New Age classic Jules et Jim is one of those films that just never ages. It's as fresh and alive today as it was when it first appeared in 1962. At bottom, it's a love triangle, but in the hands of this filmmaker and this cast it becomes much more than that.
Genre: Drama
Director: François Truffaut
Starring: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Marie Dubois
Rated: NR

When this last screened locally, I wrote: “Along with Godard’s Breathless (1960), François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1962) is probably the essential French New Wave film — and it’s possibly even more essential than Breathless, since it had a greater impact on content. Where Godard’s film was essential in defining the style of the New Wave movement, Truffaut’s defined both style and theme in ways that still seem fresh today — and unlike many New Wave films, it never once threatens to become a parody of itself. The staples of French cinema from that era have been so parodied in the intervening years that the originals sometimes verge on unintentional comedy. Somehow — and I suspect it’s because the film is so generously alive — Jules et Jim has escaped that, despite the fact that iconic aspects of the movie have been parodied (Marie Dubois’ famous cigarette-smoking ‘steam engine,’ for example). In essence, the film is little more than a love triangle concerning two young men — Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre)—who are both in love with the same girl, Catherine (Jeanne Morreau). But Truffaut takes all this to places such stories had almost never gone before.”

Full review here: http://avl.mx/lw

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Jules et Jim Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District, upstairs in the Railroad Library. Info: 273-3332, http://www.ashevillecourtyard.com

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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12 thoughts on “Jules et Jim

  1. Me

    One of the most overrated of the French new wave.

    “Had Jules, Jim and Catherine been born a few generations later, they could have sustained 10 minutes of interest on the Jerry Springer show. Or at least five.”

  2. Ken Hanke

    I agree, but I still want to know the source of the glib dismissal from “Me.”

  3. carlos

    “Eliptical, full of wit and radiance, this is the best movie ever made about what most of us think of as the Scott Fitzgerald period (though the film begins much earlier); Truffaut doesn’t linger – nothing is held too long, nothing is overstated, or even stated. He explores the medium and plays with it. He overlaps scenes; uses fast cutting, in the manner of Breathless, and leaping continuity, in the manner of Zero for Conduct; changes the size and shape of the images, as Griffith did, pauses for Jeanne Moreau to sing a song (Boris Bassiak’s “Le Tourbillon”)”
    —Pauline Kael
    If you haven’t seen this film–don’t miss this screening!

  4. Me

    It’s not a bad film by no means and it’s masterfully made of course given that its Truffuat. It’s the story I have issue with it just seems totally implausible. When it reaches the point that they get married have a family years go by and they still carry on the ridiculous obsession with Catherine it loses me. To me she was not a likable character at all I was almost happy when she dies just to put the two guys out of their missery.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I suppose it depends to some degree on your life experience.

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