Screen Homage

Jules et Jim - Jeanne Moreau PG (S)

Jules et Jim
“Nostalgia? Nostalgia is when you want things to stay the same. I know so many people staying in the same place. And I think, my God, look at them! They’re dead before they die. That’s a terrible risk. Living is risking.”

– Jeanne Moreau.

A byword for brilliant acting and classy French allure, Jeanne Moreau, the queen of the French New Wave who combined sharp intelligence and smouldering sexuality, was at her peak as the object of the affections of two best friends in François Truffaut’s romantic drama Jules et Jim.

In the carefree days before World War I, introverted Austrian author Jules (Oskar Werner) strikes up a friendship with the exuberant Frenchman Jim (Henri Serre). When both men fall for the impulsive and beautiful Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), it's Jules who wins her hand. But when after the war, Jim visits Jules and Catherine in their Austrian home he discovers not only that his feelings for Catherine are unchanged, but also that they're reciprocated.

Moreau will perhaps forever be associated with the great European art films of the 1960s such as Antonioni’s La notte and Buñuel’s Diary of a Chambermaid, and yet, this epitome of French womanhood was actually half-British (her mother was from Oldham). For the role in Jules et Jim she was the perfect choice. Critic Derek Malcolm summed it up when he described her performance as “full of gaiety and charm without conveying an empty-headed bimbo. She made the audience understand that this is no ordinary woman whom both these men adore. It is possibly the most complete portrait of any feminine character in the entire oeuvre of the French New Wave.”