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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
Whenever a commentator declares outright that a film is a complete waste of time and that nobody, BUT NOBODY, should ever watch it, I tend to peg that commentator as an opinionated ass. So I would never say that about a well-respected film like "Jules and Jim." But quite honestly, I can't warm up to it. I've watched it on more than one occasion over the years, and it never fails to put me to sleep at both ends of my anatomy. I've just viewed a DVD edition in which a film scholar clearly explains his views on the fascination of "Jules and Jim." But I still couldn't see why the relationship of these three tedious characters, discussed and analyzed in all its very tedious minutiae by those same characters and an off-screen narrator (also tedious), should interest me. It's certainly beloved by academic types (maybe for those very same characteristics?), and film critics eat it up like it has gravy on it. Like another commentator, I'm a bit puzzled by all the comments about its lyrical, lighthearted and idyllic qualities. I'm left with the impression of a rather dry, academic dissertation on the complexities of male-female relationships ca. 1961 (the 1910 setting seems to me immaterial to the script).
I can't help feeling that I'm missing something, and I'm not averse to French films, but they're usually older, pre-new-wave films, for example "Forbidden Games," "French Can-Can," or Pagnol's "Fanny" trilogy. I take it that the sentimentality of such films is one of the things new wave directors reacted against. If so, I can't jump on their bandwagon, try as I might. I've enjoyed some of Truffaut's work, but not this, I'm afraid.
To those who love and appreciate "Jules and Jim" -- have pleasure of it. I envy you for that, and maybe I'll try it again in a few years.
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