Jules and Jim [Import]
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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".
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 on Jan. 4 2014 by Pavel Richardson
I got Jules et Jim because I saw 400 Blows, thought it was the best movie, and wanted to see more Truffaut. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Ivy Lin
This is only an adequate DVD release (where are the extras?) but at least Fox Lorber acquired a restored print. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2004 by C. Rubin
There are some foreign films that have passed into the iconic level in the US, and Jules and Jim is one of them. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2004 by Peggy Vincent
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 morePublished on Oct. 31 2003
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 morePublished on May 25 2003
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