Jules and Jim

Directed by François Truffaut.
With Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre.
France, 1962, 35mm, black & white, 106 min.
French with English subtitles.
Print source: Rialto Pictures

Alternately gentle and searing, Truffaut’s masterpiece follows a love triangle through the years before, during and after the war, enthusiastically portraying the giddy joys of both friendship and romantic love among two young men, one French and one German, and the woman who captivates them both. The nationality of the two title characters reveals the film’s aspirations to allegory. The war itself receives scant notice in the novel Truffaut has adapted; the film amplifies its presence and its impact on the characters to make of this ménage-a-trois an emblem for the urge to challenge social convention in the early years of the 20th century, an urge deferred by the conflict.

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Grand Illusions
The Cinema of World War I

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