|Title:||Jules and Jim|
|08.17.07||Paramount|| Finally made it back downtown (first time since the Alamo closed. I still didn't go down Colorado though) for a double feature of Truffaut movies. They played Fahrenheit 451 earlier but... I'm not a huge fan to be honest. That is an exception though because I am largely a Truffaut lover. There's still a couple of his I haven't seen (The Green Room, Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me) but I went through a huge phase a couple years ago and there's a large handful of his films I find utterly delightful. He mellowed out in a big way later on in his career so I think a lot of people dismiss him after a while - especially his last few which are light comedies compared to his early work - but while I do love the innocence of Small Change and the theatricality of The Last Metro and many others, I still concede that his early work is best, most probably because of the palpable energy and zest that's bursting from every set-up, even when the story's dark or melancholy. Side Note: I think Shoot the Piano Player gets lost between 400 Blows and Jules and Jim but it shouldn't be. It's one of my favorites.|
Anyway, so Truffaut finally got me back downtown for movies. Luckily there wasn't too big a crowd (I guess most people came yesterday) so there weren't that many old people talking like they're in their living room, and I could fully enjoy both these movies thrown up on the big screen.
I'm not gonna try and talk about Jules and Jim like I know anything. I will say that Glen Kenney's commentary on the Fox Lorber DVD release of the film is great and goes a long way in explaining cultural significanses and references and in-jokes that Americans 45 years later would never get. Personally, I still don't understand everything when I watch it - things like the final line of narration saying he would've scattered the ashes but it was against regulation - but i'm all the more drawn in for it. To me the movie's like a very complex wine to be soaked in and contemplated with ever-changing feelings as you get more and more out of it. It's touching and funny but also sad and scary (for men at least, especially those who have succumbed to the powers of a woman before (i.e. been in love)), the pace is very languid and seemingly episodic but it's very intimate and flies by.
A big thing I noticed in this viewing is how much of the movie he gives to narration. In later films (I'm thinking Two English Girls) he takes this to excess and pretty much defines what I think of when I hear the word "novelistic" and it's on full display (more evenly tempered) here as well. Some of the best jokes and most important information goes to the narrator, with the pictures flowing bye in a very different style. I almost see it as a movie and a radio show playing simultaneously. The effect, for me at least, is very storyteller... although it's not Truffaut's voice (as in Two English Girls), it's very much as if he's telling you this story and you're closing your eyes and what you're imagining is showing up on the screen. I'd usually say that kind of thing never works and is uncinematic but... here we are.
So I loved it. It's a damn heavy film and considered by myself and a guy friend I saw afterward to be scarier than some of the best horror films and it deals with pretty uncomfortable aspects of love, but it's masterfully done and a true classic. And Oskar Werner's acting man... not even so much in his line delivery (what can I tell of that anyway since it's all French or German) but his body language and how Truffaut places him throughout the film. I immediately feel sorry for him and it never lets up. Even when he's happy his eyes are sad and when he walks away at the end... even with the sort of up-beat relief of a piece of music, every step plays the whole movie over again. And while I was never completely bewitched by Jeanne Moreau (I always preferred Catherine Deneuve), I admit that she's great here.
ok enough of this. I still have to talk about 400 Blows!