Jules et Jim: "A Morality Test for Audie ...

Jules et Jim: "A Morality Test for Audience or an Idea on Independence"

Jan 24, 2024

Jules et Jim: "A Morality Test for Audience or an Idea on Independence"
by Burcu Demirer

While I was trying to write this review, I was afraid of being a moralist person. So, I told my younger brother the narrative of this movie, and he answered, "Bro, I wish you waited for fifty years to make this concept a sitcom." He is right and not. I understood his motivations for thinking like this because ambiguous relationships between the characters are common in Jules et Jim and modern sitcoms such as How I Met Your Mother or Friends. At the same time, I think differently from my younger brother because European cinema considers individuality. Especially most French movies let me entertain the idea of being human by accepting their mistakes and taking responsibility for their actions. To explain what I mean, look at the characters, atmosphere, and other details of Jules et Jim.

In the first scene, the year is 1912. Jules, a German man, and Jim, a French man, become companions. Money doesn't have any value for both, and they are authors. Jules wants to meet women, and Jim gathers him with women he met before. Jim is engaged to a French girl called Gilberte nowadays. However, the audience feels the sexual tension between Jules, Jim, and a woman for the first time when two men are in the back seat with Therese. Therese seems to be interested in them and doesn't distinguish. It is a foreshadowing. When Albert, their art-lover friend, demonstrates a photograph of the sculpture, we get another feeling of something from the future. This sculpture has a spectacular smile, and that has a condescending meaning for them. It is attractive for two friends, and Jules and Jim decide to see this sculpture as vivid. Jim likes this sculpture first and looks at it directly and carefully. Although the friends meet with the owner of this smile, Jules acts quickly to have a relationship with her. Then, Jim accepts this situation quietly. The name of the woman with the spectacular smile is Catherine, and she is French. Her nation is important because the audience can hear the footsteps of World War I.

Women cannot make Jules and Jim face off -at least for now-, but the war is different. They have to fight against each other side. That is a necessity of the term they live in. Jules scares of killing Jim by accident, and Jim has the same fear. Jules falls in love with Catherine and holds on to her, and Jim writes many letters to Gilberte. Both have a relationship. Jules and Catherine get married, and they have a daughter anymore. Jules and Jim miraculously stay alive at the end of the war. Thus, Jim finds an opportunity to visit Jules and Catherine in the new house in rural Germany. With this visit, Catherine reflects the impulsive side of her character, and little by little own moralist side comes out.

Catherine sincerely smiles at everybody in their house, but Jim notices something wrong in the marriage of Jules and Catherine on the first day of this visit. In the short term, he learns the reality: Catherine cheated on Jules to punish him before getting married and repeated it for the second time, so we can say that she has lovers more than one. Jules is melancholic, tends to accept her actions, prefers to be with her, and puts up with her betrayal. Nonetheless, their old friend and one of her lovers Albert, live in a close village to Jules and Catherine, and he frequently visits them. Such that Albert wants to get married to Catherine, and it's not a surprise for anybody. Jules accepts this situation as happened and permits the possible marriage of Catherine and Albert. Jules thinks that Catherine is a queen, and losing her is unbearable for him. Catherine does not fall in love with Albert, so she does not accept the proposal. However, her friendship with Jim included an untalked passion. So, Catherine replaces Jim as her husband and sleeps with Jim, and Sabine, the daughter of Jules and Catherine, grows in the middle of the ambiguous relationship. I regrettably have to say the scene makes me more moralist than I thought. Since Catherine has become a selfish, impulsive, and spoiled person against Jules and Gilberte, I am annoyed by her actions and decisions. Can independence be something like this?

So, let's count the heartbroken characters. One is Jules, a disappearing husband. Second is Catherine, an impulsive and dissatisfied queen. Third is Albert, an invisible and unrespected side character. Forth is Jim, an inconsistent, changeable person. Fifth is Gilberte, a self-sacrified woman by waiting for Jim. I prefer not to mention Sabine because she is an out-and-out subject for now. Therefore, I can sum up this movie by saying that these people are free, individualist, and powerful, but at the same time, they are out of morality.

Jules et Jim was filmed by François Truffaut in 1962. At the same time, this movie is an adaptation of the novel by Henri Pierre Roch. To read this novel makes me feel something else, but to watch remembered judgmental thoughts. Nevertheless, I confess that I sometimes am jealous of Catherine and the women like her because of her independence. Some days, I say myself I wish I would be more reckless. In addition, being reckless has a price, and watching Jules et Jim reminded me of this price. If I become a more reckless human, I have to take responsibility for independent behaviors. Eventually, I choose ending this review by suggesting another movie from the French cinema: Eric Rohmer's L'Ami de Mon Amie (1987). Enjoy the show, both Jules et Jim and L'Ami de Mon Amie.

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