Jules and Jim: Can a movie conceived for one generation speak to the next?
Recently I watched Criterion’s Blu-Ray restoration of Francois Truffaut’s Jules and Jim and was reminded of how fluid is the experience of re-viewing a film. Jules and Jim is the same film I saw in college, but I’m not the same person and the early 21st century is not the same culture as the early 1960s, when Truffaut’s film was made. I suppose I’ve seen it about once a decade since the 1970s, and every times it happens to me all over again.
To a college-aged cinephile, Jules And Jim plays like a romantic triangle tinged with levity and gravity—its tempo fast, as in comedy, its shadows long, as in drama. On second sight, more mature moviegoers might view it as a case study in romantic triangulation, with Catherine pitting the clinging Jules against the independent Jim, whom she takes as a lover. There are psychological and psychosexual nuances that an inexperienced 18-year-old might miss: Is Catherine erratic, or certifiably crazy? Are Jules and Jim homosocial or homosexual? In the scene where Catherine dresses as a boy, does she both turn them on and turn them?
Do you have films that have changed on you on subsequent viewings? Is Jules and Jim one of them?