François Truffaut’s fabulously delightful Jules and Jim (Jules et Jim) is shining example of French New Wave Cinema. This intuitively directed “romantic comedy” features one of the greatest love stories/triangles of all time.
Set in Paris before the outbreak of WWI, Jules and Jim is the tale of two artistically-minded best friends, inhabiting the upper echelon of society. The introduction is extremely fast-paced, and as someone who does not speak French, the subtitles seem to race by. The opening credits are set against a upbeat backdrop, shot in high, natural-seeming light. A narrator (Michel Subor) explains that Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) met when Jules was unable to get tickets for a ballet, which Jim was able to provide. The credits continue at their unrelenting pace, showing the development of the men’s relationship; based on women, the arts and the bohemian lifestyle. The narrator explains that each man is the best listener the other has ever met, and each are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another. Jim, a local Parisian, helps Jules, an Austrian, become more accustomed to France’s bohemian scene, and both teach the other their native tongue. Through a multitude of scenes full of laughing, joking and boxing matches at the local gym, Truffaut makes it seem like the two might be lovers. Although there is a definite air of homosexuality, the two make their heterosexuality (and slightly misogynistic tendencies) clear through the sheer amount of concentration they each put into women.