Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Jules and Jim (1962)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Jules and Jim (1962, Fr.) (aka Jules et Jim)

In Francois Truffaut's acclaimed New Wave romantic drama, based on Henri-Pierre Roché's semi-autobiographical novel - about a doomed, dangerous, unconventional, and tragic three-way love triangle (and "open" or "free love" relationship between two men and a female) over the course of two decades from 1912 to the early 1930s until the eve of World War II:

  • the opening pre-title credits voice-over monologue (with a black screen), delivered by the film's female protagonist - a perfectly succinct summary of the film's plot:
    - You told me: "I love you."
    - I told you: "Wait."
    - I almost said: "Yes."
    - You said: "Go."
  • the unconventional title credits with labels and images of the principal actors engaged in various activities; and the innovative cinematic style of the entire film, with haphazard newsreel footage, intermingled narration and voice-overs, temporal distortions, wild camera moves, photographic stills, jump-cuts, super-impositions, wipes, gliding crane shots, collages, tracking and 360 degree circular shots, and momentary freeze frames
  • the 'homosexual' relationship first established between quiet, shy, calm, naive and blonde conservative Austrian writer Jules (Oskar Werner), and extroverted, French-born Jim (Henri Serre); and their holiday in the Adriatic (Greece), where they went to an outdoor museum after becoming bewitched by a picture of an ancient Greek sculpture of a female with an alluring, enchanting and mysterious smile - and the two decided that they wanted to find a doppelganger woman with the same smile ("They stared at the face for an hour. It stunned them into silence. They were speechless. Had they ever met such a smile? No. If they ever met it, they would follow it")
  • the love triangle, soon to be established between the elusive Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) - a free-spirited, liberated, impulsive French illustrator with the enigmatic smile the two were looking for, Jules (her eventual husband) and Jim, a returning WWI soldier
  • the famous sequences of their bicycle riding in the countryside, and their competitive foot-race across a Parisian bridge, after Catherine (disguised and dressed as a male, with a painted-on mustache) challenged the two men: "Let's have a race. First one to the end of the bridge" - she won, although "cheated" by getting a head-start before the countdown ended; and their threesome at the beach
The Many Scenes of the Threesome: Jules, Jim and Catherine
Riding Bicycles
Foot-Race Across Parisian Bridge
Always Together
  • the sequences of the "burning of lies" when Catherine set fire to a bowl full of her letters, and her dress accidentally caught fire, and when she threw herself off a bridge during a mock suicide and was rescued by the two men
  • after the intervention of WWI, when the two men fought on opposite sides of the conflict, Jim reacquainted himself with Catherine and Jules, who now had a five year-old daughter named Sabine (Sabine Haudepin) and lived in an Austrian Black Forest area cottage-chalet nearby the Rhine, but whose marriage was in disrepair, leading to increased tensions between the threesome
  • the romantic scene of Catherine with Jules, discussing their changing love: Catherine: "We were truly happy."
    Jules: "We still are. At least, I am."
    Catherine: "Really? We'll always stay together. Like an old couple, with Sabine and Sabine's children. Hold me close to you."
  • the captivating scene of Catherine, in her countryside home and accompanied by Albert (Serge Rezvani) on guitar, spontaneously singing the folksy Le Tourbillon de la Vie ("Life's whirlpool of days") - although mistakenly she inverted two verses and made a hand gesture acknowledging that she had reversed them: (Chorus: "We met with a kiss A hit, then a miss It wasn't all bliss And we parted We went our own ways In life's whirlpool of days")
Murder-Suicide Plot Twist Ending
  • in the shocking twist conclusion, the vascillating and depressed Catherine decided to end things for herself; after stopping briefly at an outdoor cafe driving her new motorcar, she invited Jim to go for a ride while Jules was urged to watch from afar: ("Watch us, Jules!") - and then she proceeded across a broken and damaged bridge and straight off its edge - the abrupt incident was ruled a murder/suicide by police [Note: Some have suggested that the scene became the inspiration for the suicidal/murder drive into the Grand Canyon by Thelma & Louise (1991).]
  • in the ending, following their deaths, their coffins were slid into the furnace of a crematorium, and their remaining bone fragments were crushed into ashes, and inserted into two urns for interment in separate compartments in a mausoleum, as Jules watched; afterwards, he departed down the cemetery driveway as the soundtrack played Catherine's song; the narrator recounted the events: "Jules would no longer dread, as he had from the beginning, her unfaithfulness and that he might lose her, since she was gone now. Their bodies were found in the river. Jim's coffin was huge. It dwarfed Catherine's. They left nothing of themselves. But Jules had his daughter. Did Catherine merely seek excitement? No. But she had dazed Jules. He was overcome with relief. The friendship of Jules and Jim had no equivalent in love. They enjoyed little things together. They accepted their differences with tenderness. Everyone called them Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The ashes were placed in an urn. Jules might have mixed them. Catherine wanted hers to be cast to the wind but that was not permitted"

Title Credits

Ancient Greek Sculpture of Female with Beguiling Smile

"The Burning of Lies" Scene

Mock Suicide - Throwing Herself Off Bridge

Jules and Catherine - Speaking About Their Changing Love

Catherine Singing a Folksong - And Realizing Her Mistake With a Hand Gesture

After Catherine's Death, Jules at Crematorium and at Cemetery


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