Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Original title: Jules Et Jim
France, 1962. Les Films du Carrosse, Sédif Productions. Screenplay by Francois Truffaut, Jean Gruault, based on the novel by Henri-Pierre Roche. Cinematography by Raoul Coutard. Produced by Francois Truffaut. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Fred Capel. Costume Design by Fred Capel. Film Editing by Claudine Bouche.
One of Francois Truffaut’s most beloved films, and probably his most famous after The 400 Blows. An Austrian scientist (Oskar Werner) and a French writer (Henri Serre) meet and immediately become best friends, inseparable from the word go. Werner is hot on the trail of love in his life, so their relationship naturally takes a twist in a new direction when their privacy is interrupted by the appearance of a beautiful woman (Jeanne Moreau) and they become a misfit trio of sorts. The war soon separates them, followed by their reunion where they realize that both men have deep feelings for Moreau in their own way. Despite the suggestion of the title, the lady is the focal point of this ingenious character study that spans a thirty year friendship (in which, curiously, none of the actors ever seem to age), and no other woman would ever be written so richly in this manner of now-familiar storytelling. Catherine is enigmatic and boisterous, passionate and morally complex, and Moreau brings her to life with raging, red hot blood pumping through her veins. Truffaut’s direction is full of passion, yet covered with the mild, charming cynicism of the film’s omniscient narration. A magnificent achievement in the cinema of love, and a milestone in the French New Wave.
The Criterion Collection: #281