Jules et Jim

Jules et Jim

Decades of a love triangle concerning two friends and an impulsive woman. Jules, an Austrian student, and Jim, a French student, strike up a deep friendship. They meet Catherine. The young girl falls in love with both boys, unable to choose between them.


“[...] the combination of expansive crane shots and music creates epiphanic moments. The film that has the greatest number of these – all are sweeping helicopter shots – is Jules et Jim (1962). None of them are associated with Jules; they are all associated with Jim and Catherine, who will both die at the end of the film when Catherine drives the car over the broken arch of a bridge. This link with death is important; indeed, the first of these epiphanic helicopter shots occurs when Jim visits the war cemetery (0:35:21). The rest are connected to his relationship with Catherine, initially figuring his desire for her. When he visits Catherine after the war the voice-over explains that it is as if she had finally arrived at the missed rendezvous in the Paris café years before; meanwhile the camera pans up and away from the station to a view far out over the pine forests, accompanied by Delerue's lushly romantic strings (0:36:23). On another occasion, they have spent the night together, after a month-long courtship. The camera sweeps away from Catherine's face, panning laterally to a copy of Goethe's Elective Affinities, and takes off up towards the window focusing once again on distant trees, as the voice-over says that "other women did not exist" for Jim (1:02:57).

Three further helicopter shots occur at the next stage of their relationship, when they desire a child. We see Jim leave for Paris on the train, the camera lifting away as the train leaves, with the voice-over saying that Jim and Catherine wanted to get married and have children (1:08:16). Jim returns to the chalet some weeks later, and they spend the night together. The camera again takes off in a helicopter shot over the trees, accompanied by swelling strings, as the voice-over says, "Once again they soared high like great birds of prey. They had to remain chaste until Catherine was sure that she wasn't pregnant by Albert. This restraint exalted them. They stayed together all the time; they didn't cheat on each other. The Promised Land was in sight" (1:16:26).”

Dudley Andrew and Anne Gillain1

  • 1Dudley Andrew and Anne Gillain, A Companion to François Truffaut (Chichester: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2013), 269-270.
UPDATED ON 06.12.2023
IMDB: tt0055032