This is the one that really did me in. Oh take me away, cinema, for I am forever your humble servant!
In possibly the best directed film ever made, Francois Truffaut's Jules And Jim is the visual equivalent of a raging sonnet, a feast for the heart. And it was love at first site, I instantly fell for it. Everything about this film is life changing and affirming. It is put together masterfully, woven delicately on occasion, but it also gives way to hysteria and total unpredictability. It is what film truly represents as an art form, it takes advantage of all aspects of the medium, and perpetually redefines it.
"You said, "I love you." I said, "Wait." I was about to say, "Take me." You said, "Go."" These are the first lines from Jules And Jim, spoken by the legendary Jeanne Moreau over a pitch black screen. It is both haunting and seduective. AND BOOM! We are catapulted into the frenzied and lively world of the titular heroes. We watch them live. Loud, manic, and rhythmic, we watch them experience the sound and the fury of a world gone implosive by their own wit and grandeur. It only gets better from there. This film just doesn't stop, it remains loyal to the manic pace it marries itself to during the opening sequence.
There are very few born filmmakers. Francois Truffaut is a born filmmaker. He possessed a natural talent for the art form and had an almost childlike curiosity that could only be communicated through the medium. A curiosity for everything under the sun and he wasn't afraid to explore uncharted territory. Francois Truffaut was fearless.
What you get with Jules And Jim is the story of a love triangle. The story of a house caving in on itself. It is the most honest film about friendship and love that I have ever seen. The film explores what love is, examines the properties of it, how to tame it if i be willing, and how to tame ourselves if at all possible or necessary. How to figure out this whole life thing and learn to coexist with it rather than champion its mysteries. It is a film about longing and desire and the rifts that they cause. It's about living in the rift. About how if love doesn't wholly change about your life, then it isn't truly worth cherishing. Love should be wild, friendship should be wild, life should be wild. Jules And Jim asks the eternal question, "What's a girl without a chase?" What are the properties of existence? What is the worth of life life without a woman who defines it, who shares the burden and the wonder of it? And can the same woman define multiple lives if she is special enough? Why of course she can! And we should all be lucky enough to witness her rise. We are all passengers to the women that revel in our hearts. There are fires inside of all of us waiting to be ignited and there is always a woman waiting with a match.
Jeanne Moreau is just that very woman. Moreau plays Catherine, the object of Jules and Jim's desire and sooner or later the audience too will get lost in her smile with the same intensity and starry-eyed longing as them. When I say that this one of the most outstanding performances in all of cinema, I mean exactly that. Moreau is fabulous here, absolutely breathtaking. She represents the eagerness in our hearts and the adolescent wonder still contained therein. She represents the woman, not just a woman, THE woman. The woman that came to set your soul ablaze. A force of nature. A tornado, stirred. She represents ferocity and true love and true life. Catherine is the emblem of freedom, out of reach, touching from a distance, the woman with the problems that no one can fix. The woman who loves and lives and smiles and cries and dances and screams. The woman who lives too much and too frequently. The woman who changed your life. The woman who made it worth living. Catherine is everything you ever wanted. That's how you have to view her. Give yourself to her, let her remind you of the woman you once had or let her become the woman you never knew existed, the one you keep in your dreams. Let her remind you how alive you can be. Take her hand and journey with her to that place of total fearlessness and frenzy and delight. Let her have you.
Experiencing something like Jules And Jim is uncanny. It's as if you're watching your entire life in the blink of an eye. So much happens in the film and so many things are communicated by it in a very short amount of time. I do believe that every conceivable emotion in the spectrum is represented by this film at one point or another. It is a film that surprises you with things like intimacy and doubt and conquest and sadness and life. LIFE. I keep saying that word. I keep saying it because the film is pulsating with it, it positively radiates it. The energy emitted from the film is very special and it does not exist elsewhere. Most films are things that YOU experience, Jules And Jim feels like a film that can actually experience YOU while you watch it. But you have to open up to all of it, you have to be readily available to lose yourself in it. Only then will you truly experience the finer points. The same exact thing can be said about life. This is the closest thing there is to truly sensing freedom through art. This is the closest thing there is to being there.
Jules And Jim is one of those oh-so-very special films. It is power and love and life. It is Truffaut's finest hour and it is easily one of my all-time favorite works of art. Everything about it is legendary and eternal and lives forever. Nothing can stop this film, nothing can stop her.