A better title would have been "The Two Suckers".
The movie starts off with a one-minute summary/prologue of some events that transpired between and around J&J. It went by so quickly that I could barely catch anything, except that Jules failed humping a number of women whereas Jim had them all, the French narrator pretty much being hell-bent on setting a new world-record in speed-jabbering. "Well, that must have been the movie then!" I thought, for there was enough plot in that speedy recount of events for an entire prequel to J&J. I guess that prequel would have been called "Jim & Jules: Their Happy Life Before Katherine".
We find out that J&J are poets, writers, artists... Oh, no! Not another pretentious Euro-trash saga about the sensitive souls that inhabit Paris while discussing the meaning of life! But no fear. While the movie IS pretentious, though, it's not about the meaning of life, but about the meaning and intentions of a particularly empty-headed French bimbo by the name of Katherine. After all, this is a French movie.
Before meeting this "apparition", as Jim so pretentiously calls her, J&J see a woman's "mysteriously smiling" face carved out of a rock. J&J "both dressed the same way" to see this work of art, we are told by the narrator, by not WHY they dressed the same way. And what happens if I dare ask why? I will be called an uncouth philistine who doesn't appreciate the "depth" that this movie has to offer. Nevertheless, I still ask why. If anyone out there can tell me, feel free to e-mail me. I look forward to reading your silly hallucinatory psycho-babble.
Anyway, predictably they meet a woman who fits the rock's smile, and it's of course Jeanna Moreau, whose beauty is vastly overrated. Katherine wants to set a bunch of papers (letters?) on fire which she refers to as "lies" (how poetic!), and in the process she nearly burns herself and her house down. Conclusion? Katherine is a moron. J&J have just fallen in love with a dumb floozy. That's what happens when penises do the thinking, nothing new there.
After watching a play, J&J disagree with Katherine on whether it was good or not. Realizing that J&J are far superior to her intellectually - i.e. she ran out of arguments - she spontaneously decides to jump into the river. The narrator calls it her "victory". So, all you women out there, if you ever find yourself out-argued: jump into the nearest batch of water. That'll show 'em!
WW I breaks out. Symbolically, J&J get split up to fight on opposing sides. The thing that made me smile was that both of them expressed fear of killing the other in battle. Are artists that dumb? What are the odds that they kill each other, in a war in which millions upon millions of soldiers participate? Still, this part of the movie was not bad at all, but this was probably due to the stock-footage of trenches and battlefields. I.e. these scenes were NOT directed by Truffaut so there was nothing much to criticize.
The war was over, Jim's side won. It turns out Jules has a child with Katherine (which is probably not even his), a woman who is not only dumb but also turns out to be a slut, having cheated on her husband numerous times. Jim sees his chance!
Btw, there is a silly scene in which Katherine lists various wines, and this moment reminded me of Monty Python's "cheese sketch". Nevertheless, the movie was improving at this point somewhat.
Eventually, Jim hooks up with Katherine: they're together, they split, they hook up, they split, they hook up, they split up - and then Katherine drives them both off a bridge, leaving Jules as the sole survivor of this French game of "who's the ass?". (The moment I saw her driving the car I knew she was going to do that.)
I love the way Truffaut (through his alter Ego, Jules) makes up excuses for Katherine's behaviour. When she's unfaithful, she is "exploring the boundaries of experience" or some such "poetic" malarkey. Jules is always covering up for her selfishness like some demented moron with his semantic bulls**t, which has nothing to do with the real world. Truffaut's skewered views are on display in other parts, too: Jules says that Katherine is "neither too beautiful, intelligent, or sincere" but that's what "every man wants"! What???? Maybe French men! Similarly, the quasi mini-hippie commune that the two morons, the harlot, and the child briefly form is supposed to be exalted, oh-so progressive, advanced. But what's one to expect from a decadent left-wing European director?
I was also fascinated by Katherine's penis-hopping. At one point she had dinner with three of the men she was involved with. There are pro prostitutes that can't achieve a feat like that... Truffaut tries to inject a philosophical slant to the whoring around, but no words, no matter how cleverly articulated, can mask the truth: namely that Katherine just gets bored with one penis far too easily then jumps on to the next. Just another floozy, what's there to discuss?
I found the narration to be too robotic, matter-of-fact. The narrator talked about all these complex emotional happenings, but he recited them with the passion/interest of a school-kid forced to recite a poem. In fact, they might as well have used Stephen Hawking's voice-box... Plus, some of the things said in the narration were superfluous, e.g. when Katherine walks Jim to the station in an obvious fog; it is then that the disinterested narrator informs us that "a fog has fallen". No kidding??
Oh, yes, and the movie is about destiny, for example Jim missing Katherine by only ten minutes in the bar, an event that could have changed everything... and... oh, whatever...
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