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Jules et Jim (Criterion Collection) (1962)

Cast: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, more...
Director: François Truffaut
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Romance, Costume Drama/Period Piece, France, Criterion Collection, French New Wave
Languages: French
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Synopsis
Acclaimed French director François Truffaut's third and, for many viewers, best film is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roche. Set between 1912 and 1933, it stars Oskar Werner as the German Jules and Henri Serre as the Frenchman Jim, kindred spirits who, while on holiday in Greece, fall in love with the smile on the face of a sculpture. Back in Paris, the smile comes to life in the person of Catherine (Jeanne Moreau); the three individuals become constant companions, determined to live their lives to the fullest despite the world war around them. When Jules declares his love for Catherine, Jim agrees to let Jules pursue her, despite his own similar feelings; Jules and Catherine marry and have a child (Sabine Haudepin), but Catherine still loves Jim as well. An influential film that has grown in stature over the decades, Jules et Jim was often viewed by the counterculture of the 1960s as a cinematic proponent of the free-love movement, but in actuality the picture is a statement against such a way of life. Despite the bond shared by Jules, Jim, and Catherine, their ménage à trois is doomed to fail; and Catherine's inability to choose between the two men leads to tragic consequences for all three. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Movie Guide

Bonus features:

  • Excerpts from The Key to Jules and Jim (1985), a documentary on author Henri-Pierre Roché and the true stories on which the novel and film are based
  • Truffaut on Roché, from the French program Bibliothèque de poche (1966)
  • New video interview with Coutard
  • Video interview with Gruault
  • New video conversation between scholars Robert Stam and Dudley Andrew
  • Excerpts from a 1965 episode of the French television program Cinéastes de notre temps dedicated to François Truffaut
  • Segment from the French program LInvité du Dimanche (1969), featuring Truffaut, Moreau, and Jean Renoir
  • Excerpts from Truffaut's first appearance on American television, a 1977 interview with New York Film Festival director Richard Roud Excerpts from a 1979 American Film Institute Dialogue on Film given by Truffaut
  • Archival audio interview of Truffaut by Claude-Jean Philippe (1980)
  • Theatrical trailer

GreenCine Member Ratings

Jules et Jim (Criterion Collection) (1962)
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7.85 (127 votes)
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Jules et Jim (Criterion Collection) (Bonus Disc) (1962)
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7.45 (20 votes)
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GreenCine Member Reviews

This is film at its purest by Lastcrackerjack April 3, 2006 - 7:56 PM PDT
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1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Directed by Francois Truffaut from a script adapted with Jean Gruault from Henri Pierre Rochet's novel, this icon of the French New Wave cinema bursts out in anamorphic black and white with a freedom and reckless abandon made possible only by young filmmakers paying heedless disregard to convention.

The film - particularly the early sequences before the title characters fight on opposing sides of the Great War - is filled with a sense of innocence. No one seems to hold a job. Jules and Jim fill their days with games of dominoes, French boxing, smoking, drinking, sleeping late, riding bicycles, swimming, skipping rocks, viewing art, meeting gorgeous women in cafes, at dinner parties or on the streets, and searching for meaning in the City of Lights.

Though essentially a love triangle, the film flows freely without the constraint of a rational plot line. The dialogue is fueled by discussion of literature, art, philosophy and dreams. Events unfold with little or no service to a story, but lend themselves beautifully to the fabric of who these three characters are and why they meet the fates that they do.

Catherine craves to be free, to reinvent her own life at any given moment. She resists labels and is equal parts masculine and feminine. This includes drawing a moustache on herself and going out under the alias "Tomas". Jim is an inquiring mind who seeks to travel, write and translate, to learn to live anywhere. Jules is generous and innocent but also vulnerable. When Catherine realizes his insecurities are a part of who he is and cannot be cured, she ceases to be his.

Shot at a fast pace and abound with terrific playfulness, the film succeeds most memorably with a feeling of timelessness. Characters speak with real depth and pathos without ever turning the proceedings into an abstract art film. It is cinema at its purest.

Classics that never grow old. by Ultranova October 20, 2005 - 3:27 PM PDT
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1 out of 3 members found this review helpful
This is a wonderful film with great performances and a surprise ending that I sure wasn't expecting. Light and romantic while at the same time dark and somewhat disturbing - like life can often be.

More reviews for titles in this product:


Moveline's 100 Best Foreign Films
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This list was published in Moveline's July 1996 issue.
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Village Voice's 100 Best Films of the 20th Century
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When the Village Voice held its "First Annual Film Critics' Poll" they asked 50 or so film critics (like Molly Haskell, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Andrew Sarris) to rank their top ten best films of the century. This is the result.
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