François Truffaut‘s frank exploration of the nature of love and friendship, Jules et Jim (1962) featuring one of the most famous love triangles in the history of cinema. Thanks to the BFI is returning to the Big screen next month!
Strap in for romantic roller-coaster of a movie, it’s fast, funny, stylish and affecting all at once. It was a landmark movie part of the French New Wave, which would make Jeanne Moreau an international star.
The movie is the second of two key films by François Truffaut (1932-1984), of the BFI’s UK-wide celebration of the film critic-turned-director, who become one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation.
Jules et Jim adapted from a semi-autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roché, published without fanfare in 1953 when its author was 75 years old. Truffaut discovered it a couple of years later in a second-hand bookshop while he was still working as a film critic. A story of two aspiring writers in 1912 Bohemian Paris ( Oskar Werner, Henri Serre), confident with women, both fall for Catherine (Moreau)…
In the bohemian Paris of 1912, two aspiring writers form a close friendship: Jules (Oskar Werner) is a shy, philosophical Austrian, while Jim (Henri Serre) is a debonair Frenchman, confident and successful with women. Both fall for the beautiful, capricious Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), but Jules is the one she chooses to marry. After the Great War – in which Jules and Jim fight on opposite sides – Jim visits his two friends and their young daughter in the Rhine Valley, but the marriage is not what it seems, and Jim soon finds himself embroiled in a complex, turbulent ménage à trois. Catherine yearns for free and passionate love, devoid of jealousy, lies and hypocrisy. As her lovers acknowledge, she is “a vision for all men, not a woman for one”.
Stylistically and psychologically rich, Jules et Jim resists conventional categorisation and offers no easy answers. 60 years on, it still radiates an astonishing freshness and vitality. It also remains, in the words of the director himself, “a film which provokes the simple desire to talk about life”.
Jules et Jim will be released in select UK cinemas (including BFI Southbank, HOME Manchester, Glasgow Film Theatre, Ciné Lumière ) from 4th February.