Francois Truffaut's greatest achievement, JULES AND JIM is a shrine to lovers who have known obsession and been destroyed by it.
The film begins in Paris in 1912 when two writers--Jules (Oskar Werner), a shy German, and Jim (Henri Serre), a dark-haired Parisian--become obsessed with an ancient stone carving of a woman. Their life changes when they meet Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), the personification of the stone goddess,
whose smile enchants both men. Jules begins to court her, but only with Jim's blessing.
The three become great friends, though Catherine's unpredictability flares whenever she feels she is being ignored. (At one point, she jumps into the Seine when Jules and Jim's heated discussion of a Strindberg play does not include her.) Although Catherine gives Jules a child, Sabine (the
adorable, bespectacled Sabine Haudepin), her ever-changing moods are not those of a mother or a wife, and she begins an affair with Jim. Jules, however, refuses to leave her, or even to get angry--he only wants to be near her and his friend.
The film is a celebration both of love and cinema, as Truffaut directs with equal concern for his characters and for film technique--one never overshadowing the other. Scripted from Henri-Pierre Roche's novel, the screenplay has not a wasted word or gesture, with every element working together
perfectly to create three unique and interdependent characters. As much in love with Catherine as Jules and Jim are, Truffaut photographs her with the greatest love and admiration. Just as Jules and Jim respond lovingly to Catherine's every move, and just as the camera swirls and dollies around
the ancient stone carving in the film's early scenes, so too does Truffaut's filmmaking revolve around the great Moreau, who returns the compliment with one of the most memorable performances in screen history.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Francois Truffaut's greatest achievement, JULES AND JIM is a shrine to lovers who have known obsession and been destroyed by it. The film begins in Paris in 1912 when two writers--Jules (Oskar Werner), a shy German, and Jim (Henri Serre), a dark-haired Pa… (more)