Written and Directed by Francois Truffaut
Starring Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Jeanne Moreau
1 hr 45 min
Available on HuluPlus
Jules and Jim is a strange piece of cinema. Essentially the story is a love triangle between the title characters and the psychotic object of their collective affection, Catherine. The love triangle is a storytelling technique that is overused and almost always under-developed. This one works wonders, though.
The reason it succeeds where so many others fails is that it focuses not on the romance, but the friendship between Jules and Jim. It paints a complete picture of a relationship, not the typical picturesque version of love. The story is about them, not Catherine, hence the title of the film. As the confusion and fragility of romance take their toll on the characters, one thing stays true–the enduring power of true best friends.
I hesitate to describe it this way in the fear that I make it seem melodramatic. It’s not. In fact, Jules and Jim is one of the most understated movies I’ve ever seen. To illustrate my point, here is the last line of the film, spoken evenly by the narrator: “Catherine would have wanted her ashes scattered to the winds from a hilltop, but that was against regulations.” That’s it. Done. You won’t see the dramatic theatrics of classic Hollywood here. This is France, bitch.