Thursday, 2 December 2010

Jules et Jim (1962): My first encounter with the French New Wave

                                        Photograph by Raymond Cauchetier, on the set of Jules et Jim.

Just a quick post to point you all in the direction of this beautiful film. I watched it (sort of by accident) last night, wrongly assuming that it would calm my mind on what was proving to be a frustratingly sleepless night. In fact, it kept me up long after the credits rolled, and has stayed with me all day today.

In short, it tells the story of an impossibly complicated love triangle, set against the backdrop of the First World War and its aftermath. Sounds gloomy, doesn't it? But tragedy is not it's defining feature, and the natural warmth of the film triumphs over it's ultimately heartbreaking climax. Created in 1962, Jules et Jim is now considered to be one of the foremost examples of Nouvelle Vague cinema, combining photographic stills and archive footage with broad panning and tracking shots, amplified by a mysterious chocolate voiced narrator and a celebrated soundtrack.

Have a look at this shot, in which the three lovers race across a Parisian overpass. We end up running alongside Jeanne Moreau, catching her up where the others have fallen behind, intimately close, sharing breath, flying almost.

I'm telling you, it'll charm your socks off.


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