Production year 1962
Directed by Francois Truffaut
Written by Henri-Pierre Roché, François Truffaut and Jean Gruault
Starring Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner and Henri Serre
Francois Truffaut was one of the most important members of the Nouvelle Vague or New Wave of French filmmaking – the movement that was to break with the past and change the style of films all over the world in the early 1960s. Jules et Jim was one of his most celebrated and imitated movies – it blended voiceover, still images, freeze frames and other techniques to tell the story of a love triangle in a way never before seen in cinema and that still feels fresh today. The film stars Jeanne Moreau as a free spirited woman who entrances two friends – although the story is set around World War 1 it clearly plays with the notions of free love that were so fashionable at the time it was made in the 1960s.
Truffaut began his career as a film critic writing for and later editing the influential magazine Cahiers du Cinema. With others he developed the ‘auteur’ theory – the idea that the director, like a writer, is the author of a film. This theory was based on his admiration for certain key Hollywood filmmakers including Alfred Hitchcock with whom he conducted a famous set of interviews. He was fierce in his opinions and was known as the ‘Gravedigger’ of French cinema. In the late 50s Truffaut became inspired to make his own films and had great success with his debut feature Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) a semi autobiographical coming of age story. He went on to make 25 films in a career spanning a quarter of a century until his untimely death in 1984.
Truffaut occasionally appeared as an actor – most notably playing the French scientist in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.