Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, ... See full summary »
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
In Paris, before WWI, two friends, Jules (Austrian) and Jim (French) fall in love with the same woman, Catherine. But Catherine loves and marries Jules. After the war, when they meet again in Germany, Catherine starts to love Jim... This is the story of three people in love, a love which does not affect their friendship, and about how their relationship evolves with the years. Written by
When Jules, Jim, and Albert are sitting on the grass sharing stories about the war, the order of the three characters repeatedly changes between shots. Note that this is actually a goof on the Criterion Region 1 disc, and the Tartan Region 2 DVD, in which the film is reversed left/right. It does not occur in other DVD releases of this film, including the Fox/Lorber Region 1 release. See more »
But it was not allowed
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Why do so many people need to "get into the characters" "care about the characters" "identify with the characters", to enjoy or appreciate a great film? I think it's a type of selfishness, as shallow as the urge to reject an outcome one doesn't like. Examples: "I know it's good; but the ending was too down" (Lolita), or a woman I once heard criticize Unbearable Lightness of Being because one of the main characters is a womanizer who doesn't repent or have justice rendered to him. Ironically, in Jules and Jim, we see a woman who is a "manizer" whom some viewers are appalled or put off by).
Jules and Jim features three characters whose unrealism is beyond question - Truffaut himself might comment on how Catherine fascinated the other two, but I doubt very much he would claim any of the three to be "realistic". I think the whole thing is a fable, and therefore the three are more like archetypes. The beauty isn't really the story, but HOW the story unfolds, and, most importantly how it is told VISUALLY: the breeziness interrupted by dramatic outbursts (flames, jumping into the river, death by drowning), the exploration of love as a fleeing of tediousness and predictability, the hinting (yes there is a type of love between Jules and Jim, though not a homo erotic one) that friendship is always deeper than romantic love, the beautiful flowing and editing of sequences, for example: where all three go bicycling in the country.
The duty of film is to tell a story in moving images, to take advantage of the things that specifically make cinema different from drama or literature - moving the spectator about in space and time, which cannot be done in any other art form in quite the same way. But nothing about this movie is conventional, and people looking for "resolution", or a someone getting their comeuppances, or even a character learning more about himself must look elsewhere for gratification.
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