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Archive for April 17th, 2009

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by Allan Fish

(France 1961 105m) DVD1/2

Aka. Jules and Jim

Vive la Moreau!

p  Marcel Berbert  d  François Truffaut  w  François Truffaut, Jean Gruault  novel  Henri-Pierre Roche  ph  Raoul Coutard  ed  Claudine Bouche  m  Georges Delerue  art/cos  Fred Capel

Jeanne Moreau (Catherine), Oskar Werner (Jules), Henri Serre (Jim), Marie Dubois (Thérèse), Vanna Urbino (Gilberte), Sabine Haudepin (Sabine), Kate Noelle (Birgitta), Christianne Wagner (Helga), Anny Nielsen (Lucy), Boris Bassiak (Albert),

It just so happens that I review Truffaut’s delicious turn of the century romance on the very same day as Ophuls’ Lola Montes.  Intriguing in that they share several things in common; liberating use of the widescreen, a camera in love with the idea of femininity, a capricious woman who lead men to their doom, and the presence of the unique Oskar Werner.  It’s also a film that both reinvents and pays homage to the very sort of film that Truffaut and his contemporaries looked down upon, most memorably Renoir’s Une Partie de Campagne, to which this is most definitely a cinematic offspring. 

            In Paris in 1912, two young men, German Jules and Parisian Jim, form an instant friendship, into which comes the beautiful Catherine, with whom they both fall in love.  It’s Jules who succeeds with her, marrying her, and returning to Germany where they have a child, Sabine.  During the war, the friends are on opposite sides, but after the armistice, Jim, now established as a writer, pays them a visit.  There Jules says Catherine is on the point of leaving him, and in a plea to hold onto both of them, asks Jim to sleep with her.  However, when she’s unfaithful to both of them, Jim returns dejected to Paris.  Many years later, in 1933, Jules and Catherine come to see Jim, who now wants out of this destructive relationship, at which Catherine takes matters into her own hands. (more…)

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