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When a threesome is never ever a good thing-A look into Jules Et Jim (1962)

Sorry for some certain silence as I have been slacking on my Hero (2002) post. Well anyway to make this up how about looking at the dynamics on Jules et Jim? Basically hailed as one of the French New Wave classics,this summarized this extremely brief yet vital period in film history. In case you are wondering I called this “when a threesome is never ever a good thing.” ? It is actually what I am thinking pretty much after I watched this classic. So I would be highlighting the love triangle between Jules,Jim and Catherine.

So here is how the story goes,I will try to be spoiler-free as possible. Before The Great War (WW1) a friendship was born between passive Jules and lady-killer Jim who met each other in a station. All goes well till they met Catherine,a eccentric and free-spirited girl. Both fall in love with the same girl and things get really really messy.

Here I am going to look at some scenes and how it subconsciously seeps through my mind. Of course I know about this film because I watched Amelie (2001) and they refereed to that film by a literal sense. I could sense its influence by the use of the voiceover. The voice of Jules Et Jim have this fairy-tale like feeling as if they are telling the audience a moral story of the loss of innocence while Amelie is more towards some dark humor and whimsicality. For instance the ending scene,I was taken aback when I watched Jules witnessing silently about that crazy incident of Catherine driving recklessly to that bridge with Jim. To me what makes me give that “Whut” face to be precise was the voice-over ”

Jules would never again fear
that she would cheat on him...
or die... because it was over              
The bodies were found in the reeds
Jim's coffin was bigger than life.
Catherine's was a jewel-box
They left nothing                
Jules had his daughter
Had Catherine enjoyed the battle?
No                 
She'd dazed Jules to the point
of nause He felt a surge of relief               
The men's friendship
had no equal in love                
They'd totally enjoyed little details
and tenderly noted their differences
From the start they'd been called
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
The ashes were put in urns
and sealed away                   
Jules would have mixed them together 
Catherine had wanted
to be strewn from a hilltop...
but that wasn't permitted
 Perhaps it sounds so ironic especially this narration “From the start they’d been called Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.” In the beginning Jules mentioned to Jim during their first meeting that they are similar to that literary friendship. It was Catherine who torn their friendship and Jules have to suffer the consequences here.

Secondly it is similar to Amelie as the main female protagonists,as both are free-spirted in behaviour-wise. While Amelie was pretty shy and afraid to make human contact,Catherine seems to be feistier and unwilling to settle down in life. It was seen that she betrayed her husband Jules,who passively accepted her affair with Jim. She do not want to be held down by being a good little housewife and submit to her husband. It echoes the days of the 50’s-60’s when the feminism movement arises and the ladies wanted to take control of their own lives. Perhaps Truffaut was commentating on how young females were like,breaking free from the destined roles as housewives and taking up the more masculine role. It was interesting that that famous catch scene that Catherine disguised herself as a man in that scene. Perhaps it hints about the rising role of women being dominant to post-war society. Jules was perhaps taking the submissive role of the househusband and while Catherine was ruling the roost over him.

However what makes it stands out from Amelie was its frank use of sexuality,perhaps it would shocking to the pre-50’s generation then. Their views of sexuality was liberating in contrast to the stuffy view of old. It was normal for them to be extremely open to sex during that period. However I am glad Truffaut did not blandly show these scenes in a literal way,otherwise I think will spoiled the film. It was interesting that they set the film during The Great War as it added so much irony about their views of sexuality-Perhaps it would be a shocker if two guys stayed in a house with a woman then. Fast forward to 1962,it seems normal now. However we could see the tragic consequences,as both Jim and Jules are incapable of giving their time and devotion to Catherine whenever physical like the miscarriage or mentally like Jules’ incapability to be a strong husband for her.

Perhaps to summarize everything from this post,why I put this title-Perhaps Truffaut is making a commentary on the human nature as Germaine Geer summarised in her review for that film in Guardian (link) “The question is not, after all, whether a woman can love two men at once, because obviously she can. But for true love to flourish, as Jules and Jim could both tell you, the parties must be free and equal.” We can easily satisfied the self but however we are so unwilling to spend some time for the partner and relished on self. Might as well don’t have a relationship at all. That is why it is so tragic when Jules watched Catherine did a reckless act and taking not only his best friend but also his wife which he is incapable of caring her. So I will leave with the quote again.

Catherine had wanted to be strewn from a hilltop...but that wasn't permitted

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3 thoughts on “When a threesome is never ever a good thing-A look into Jules Et Jim (1962)

  1. Love this film🙂

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