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JULES AND JIM

Director: FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT

FRANCE • 1962 • SUBTITLED • BLACK AND WHITE • ANAMORPHIC • 105 MIN


As a notoriously combative critic in the 1950s, François Truffaut lambasted French cinema for its conservatism. He had a particular dislike for the so-called ‘tradition of quality’, which he considered to be little more than a series of impersonal, academic literary adaptations. With Jules et Jim, which is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roche, Truffaut the filmmaker set out to demonstrate that transforming a novel into a movie could be a highly cinematic and personal affair. Set in the years before and after WWI, the story concerns two bohemian young men, the Austrian Jules (Oskar Werner) and the Frenchman Jim (Henri Serre), who form a seemingly indestructible friendship before their world is invaded by the beautiful yet volatile Catherine (Jeanne Moreau). What is remarkable about Truffaut’s treatment of the material is the way it shifts with complete ease between lyricism and tragedy while deploying a battery of cinematic devices. Classical references are combined with a thoroughly modern sensibility in one of cinema’s great depictions of a menage à trois.

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