2020 Blind Spot Series: Jules & Jim

 

What I knew going in: That this was a popular French New Wave film

Jim (Henri Serre) a Frenchman is friends with Jules, (Oskar Werner) an Austrian living in Paris in the 1910's. They both fall in love with a woman named Catherine. (Jeanne Moreau) Catherine eventually marries Jules, and after WWI, the three meet again in Germany and Catherine starts falling in love with Jim. The film follows these three as they attempt to make a relationship work.

I picked this film as I wanted to see more work from director François Truffaut and this seemed like a fairly popular choice, but I have to admit I'm a bit perplexed after watching it. Jim and Jules together make a great pair of friends. Catherine is to put it blunty - kind of a flake, but I wouldn't say I disliked her character. I just found nearly every decision this trio makes to be kind of illogical and I never understood how these two guys would go to such lengths to keep Catherine. I also don't understand why Catherine even entertained some of these ideas in the first place. I won't go as far as to say these characters are underwritten, I'm just utterly unconvinced at their motives.

The film is shot beautifully and has moments I really enjoyed, but the climax felt like it came out of nowhere tone wise. I actually had to stop and rewind my DVD just to make sure what really happened, happened. 

Ultimately, this was just a bit weird. I still have a long ways to go with French New Wave and while there was much to appreciate here, I don't think this is a film I'll ever return to.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "I'm afraid she'll never be happy on this earth. She's a vision for all, perhaps not meant for any one man alone." Jim (Henri Serre)

11 comments:

  1. I share some of your befuddlement at why this is so highly regarded.

    When I was starting to dig into foreign film it was one that kept popping up but that I put off seeing opting to watch films like Breathless, Diabolique and The Wages of Fear instead.

    However Drew from A Fistful of Films was such a huge fan that I finally watched it figuring I'd really love it since our tastes were similar but despite liking both Jeanne Moreau and Oskar Werner I wasn't terribly impressed with the picture. I watched it, it was fine, I've never had any desire to revisit it again and doubt that I ever will.

    If you like Jeanne Moreau I'd recommend tracking down The Bride Wore Black (which is another collaboration with Truffaut). I enjoyed it ten times more than this.

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    1. Aww Drew, I miss him. I'll check out The Bride Wore Black as I still have a ways to go with Truffaut's films.

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    2. Jean Luc-Godard (Being truthful about my own cinematic inadequacies, as it were)November 21, 2020 at 11:24 AM

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  2. Bummer. I get where you're coming from but I really do love the movie. I think it's because I find the trio so fascinating individually and collectively. I'm glad you admired how beautifully it's shot. There are some great visual touches throughout.

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    1. I was bummed too because I remember you saying it was one of your favorites, but it's not bad at all. Just not something I'd revisit.

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  3. I do love this film but if you were to ask me if this was my favorite film by Truffaut, the answer is no. There's 4 other films that I think are much better. The 400 Blows is an obvious choice yet I would much more recommend The Wild Child, Day for Night, and Two English Girls as I think they have a better narrative as well as the fact that it has Truffaut exploring characters. I'm also with joel on The Bride Wore Black which I liked a lot.

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    1. I'll have to check those ones out next! Thanks for the rec.

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  4. I'm so behind on French New Wave. The ones I've seen haven't really been to my liking, except for The 400 Blows. I do want to get to this.

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    1. We're behind together. I really like 400 Blows. It's on HBO Max and I debate watching it again.

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  5. I am with you on this film. I really like 400 Blows and heard so much about this movie and after I watched it, I felt like I was too ordinary to "get" this film. I pictured myself with a bunch of young people from that era with the women trying hard to look manish and the men in black with a white scarf around their necks raising their eyes to the ceiling while I ask why these 2 guys would want Catherine. They should have dumped her and just went off together as good friends. I did not enjoy this movie at all. I read Joel's comment which I always like and so agree with your comment...I miss Drew.

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