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Jules And Jim (Criterion Collection)

Jeanne Moreau , Oskar Werner , François Truffaut    DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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François Truffaut's third feature, though it's named for the two best friends who become virtually inseparable in pre-World War I Paris, is centered on Jeanne Moreau's Catherine, the most mysterious, enigmatic woman in his career-long gallery of rich female portraits. Adapted from the novel by Henri-Pierre Roché, Truffaut's picture explores the 30-year friendship between Austrian biologist Jules (Oskar Werner) and Parisian writer Jim (Henri Serre) and the love triangle formed when the alluring Catherine makes the duo a trio. Spontaneous and lively, a woman of intense but dynamic emotions, she becomes the axle on which their friendship turns as Jules woos her and they marry, only to find that no one man can hold her. Directed in bursts of concentrated scenes interspersed with montage sequences and pulled together by the commentary of an omniscient narrator, Truffaut layers his tragic drama with a wealth of detail. He draws on his bag of New Wave tricks for the carefree days of youth--zooms, flash cuts, freeze frames--that disappear as the marriage disintegrates during the gloom of the postwar years. Werner is excellent as Jules, a vibrant young man whose slow, melancholy slide into emotional compromise is charted in his increasingly sad eyes and resigned face, while Serre plays Jim as more of an enigma, guarded and introspective. But both are eclipsed in the glare of Moreau's radiant Catherine: impulsive, demanding, sensual, passionate, destructive, and ultimately unknowable. A masterpiece of the French New Wave and one of Truffaut's most confident and accomplished films. --Sean Axmaker

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A meditation on freedom June 26 2004
It doesn't suprise me that at least a 1/4 of the reviews here are from people who cannot understand why this movie is so beloved. Most people these days watch movies as spectacle. This film will give back whatever you invest in it. If you invest nothing, you get nothing.
As I've gotten older, this movie has become more and more emotional for me. The characters briefly live out a kind of reckless and carefree nirvana. They then spend the rest of the film trying to recreate the feeling. But as time goes on, entanglements creep in. Children are born. Wedding vows are taken. Friendships are tested. Which of us over 30 cannot relate to this?
The last line of the film, a seemingly tacked on detail about a request made to a civil servant, sums all that has come before with pure poetry. A final plea for freedom is made, but..."it was not to be permitted".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We played with life and lost." Feb. 18 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Francois Truffaut's Jules et Jim was a very popular art-house movie in the early sixties. The black and white French (English subtitled) film follows the friendship of two college students in bohemian Paris beginning in 1912. They meet Catherine, a free spirit who loves to shock people as much as she enjoys both men's love. She marries Jules, but is not satisfied. They reunite with Jim and continue their love triangle.
Jeanne Moreau's Catherine is eternally alluring, selfish, manipulating, and cruel. She is perfect as the siren who plays with men as a cat plays with a mouse. Oscar Werner gives a sympathetic performance as the idealistic and vulnerable Jules, who goes from carefree youth to melancholy middle-age. Henri Serre is well-cast as Jim, more quiet and introspective, yet still helplessly drawn to the enigmatic Catherine.
This is the kind of movie one admires more each time you see it. At first, you are dependent on the subtitles; later you just enjoy the flow of scenes, the gradual change in mood from youthful exuberance to subdued acceptance, and then the stark and tragic, yet inevitable, conclusion. If you like character-driven stories about unconventional people, you'll enjoy Jules and Jim.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THIS PURE TRIANGULAR LOVE July 19 2004
"She is the greatest sweetheart in French cinema. While gangsters and gangs kill each other, she dances in a tutu in a circus, is tortured by a sadist and makes her way through bursts of submachine-gun fire, with thoughts only of love. With trembling lips, wild hair, she ignores what others call 'morals' and lives by and for love. Messieurs, producers and directors, give her a real part and we will have a great film."
Francois Truffaut wrote this of Jeanne Moreau in 1957. Shortly afterwards, when fascination turned to friendship, the burgeoning director's greatest ambition would be to make a film with the woman who had become the most important person in his life.
In JULES ET JIM, Jeanne Moreau's is a performance of touching beauty and lucidity that is unparalleled in cinema. She is Catherine, the woman in love with life, who in turn falls in love with both Jules and Jim (superb performances from Oskar Werner and Henri Serre), amateur scholars, dandies, and the closest of friends. Over the following years, through joy, disillusionment, a world-war and parenthood, the three share a relationship that defines love itself; as Catherine alternates her pledge of devotion from Jules to Jim, and even to other men, our heroes explore a friendship that has been touched by a soul who is "not a woman" but rather "...an apparition".
But Catherine is not "fatale"- rather the very essence of woman, whose divine right it is to live as she pleases, when she pleases, where any potentially ruinous consequences are the unfortunate fruits of an unmitigated love of love itself. Truffaut's art is one that invokes the Goddess, embodied here by an enigma of extraordinary grace and power.
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5.0 out of 5 stars cela commençait comme un rêve April 22 2004
By kiki
I was fortunate enough to study this film along with le dernier metro for a unit of my A level course. At first I thought yeah Truffaut some French producer blatantly wont be all that as it was just a part of my A level.... how wrong could I be?! The music I love beyond belief and the whole storyline is absolutely fantastic, anyone to dismiss this film as some lame French attempt at making cinema I would call a philistine and yes i started off as one. Sometimes you might say that to study something ruins the piece but to be honest this is the exception to the rule it has really made me appreciate the stunning techniques that Truffaut uses in creating his masterpieces. It's a film that you can watch again and again and the emotions are still the same - unchanged opinions and the same things amuse you, aggravate you and touch you. there are many little quotes and actions that stay in my memeory - my favourites being when Jim ("DJIM") skips onto the bike in catherine's room; the race on the bridge; the view of the three hanging out of thier windows to talk to each other and their everyday 'mundane' activities that let you into their world little by little. all these tiny pieces add up to make various themes and give the films beautiful characteristics that i havent seen matched in any other film before. the techniques that truffaut uses to encourage you into forming certain ideas are subtle and ingenius. im surprised that his films havent had more global appreciation as they are definately cinematographic masterpieces that i would recommend for everyone. there are so many things that i'd love to say about Jules et Jim - and ive left the majority out because i think thats something for you to see and realise for yourselves...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Serge Hudon
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it!
Completely grateful, and satisfied. One of the best purchases and services I've had all year. I only wish more were like him (and also that he had a bigger criterion collection).
Published 9 months ago by Pavel Richardson
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
I got Jules et Jim because I saw 400 Blows, thought it was the best movie, and wanted to see more Truffaut. Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by Ivy Lin
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential
This is only an adequate DVD release (where are the extras?) but at least Fox Lorber acquired a restored print. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2004 by C. Rubin
5.0 out of 5 stars A golden oldie of a movie
There are some foreign films that have passed into the iconic level in the US, and Jules and Jim is one of them. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2004 by Peggy Vincent
1.0 out of 5 stars the philosophical heart of this movie...
is merde. this movie is merde. you will pray for demons to eat your eyeballs and erase your memory with pain in the hope that you will forget this, the most truly unforgettable of... Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Friendship
A story about two friends who become entangled in an emotional triangle with a woman who is not sure in what she wants out of love. Read more
Published on May 25 2003 by "chitown3171"
1.0 out of 5 stars Dated tedium that does not certify your coolness
I love The 400 Blows. I very much like a couple other Truffaut films. So, hearing that this was one of the foundations of his reputation, I was anxious to see it. Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars This film is hilarious!
I saw this movie in college and I was rolling in the aisles! It's full of silly, pretentious French stereotypes, but far from that being annoying, I found it really entertaining. Read more
Published on April 25 2002
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