This review was originally written recently for Blueprint: Review, and is also my selection for August for my Blind Spot pick.
Before I get into this review, I feel it’s only fair I give you a glimpse into my brief history with French New Wave cinema. As with David, whose review of another Truffaut film, Shoot the Pianist, posted yesterday, I’m not a huge fan, however, I’ve seen fewer films from within the period than he has, so there was a greater potential for me to like this film. To date, I’ve only really seen two New Wave classics, Godard’s Breathless (written by Truffaut) and Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad. I hated them both, and even went back to re-watch Breathless (also known as A Bout de Souffle) and in fact hated it more the second time around. My problems with these films are many and varied, but essentially I find the characters to be so dislikeable that I genuinely don’t want to spend any time with them, and they all suffer from an abundance of style over substance, more so than any other films I could mention. Marienbad is particularly frustrating, given the complete absence of anything resembling a cohesive plot. I’ve heard arguments praising its open-ended narrative, allowing the viewer to read all sorts of insights into the film, but I see it as laziness on the part of the writer, or potentially an inability to write two adjacent scenes at all. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Jules et Jim didn’t have much of a chance to begin with, even though I went in with as open a mind as I could manage.