01/11/2001

  Narrative in Jules et Jim

          Jules et Jim is about three people who achieve to be "free" in their life despite what is happening around them. All three main characters live a bohemian life without even caring about the rules of the society. For example, they do not care about the concept of marriage or nationalism of the society. They only live the way they want despite this sometimes leads to unhappiness. In a chaotic world filled with wars, they "at least try" to conquer what they really believe in. They are like the soldier that Jim describes to Jules and Albert, who almost achieves conquering a woman's heart - but fails - during the war. In my opinion, our heroes fail too but it is a different subject of discussion.

          The freedom that is present in their lives also exists in the narrative and in the form of the movie. While watching the movie I realized that Truffaut did not care about the common use of cause-consequence, time or space relations between the scenes. For example the audience does not really know why Jim falls in love with Catherine, it just happens. Or in the scene where they go to Greece to see the statue, in an ordinary movie there would be an explanation of how they get there, but in Jules et Jim nobody cares about that. Moreover in many cases, Truffaut just cuts and jumps to a scene that happens years later. The audience is expected to accept all those rule-breaking ideas, and it should if it wants to understand the mood that the characters are in.

          Like any other thing in the movie, the narrator is also in the mood of the characters. He (he certainly does not exist.) has an intimate knowledge about the characters and he has the freedom to interfere anytime he sees necessary, whether it is to explain their psychologies or something about the story. I think the narration and the narrator form a complete unity. They both are poetic, intimate and free as the characters.

          Also, the narrator does not change the balance between Jules and Jim set by the narration. Neither of them takes more attention or sympathy of the audience. It seems that they both have the same range of story information and the plot explores the depths of their psychologies in the same level. Catherine is after them in the hierarchy. We know less about her; we understand her less. The complicated thing about her is that she is both a part of Jules and Jim, and also an outsider. We have as much as sympathy for her but in some scenes we see her in the opposite side and maybe even blame her. Perhaps, that is exactly what the idea is: She is an unknown part of them.


 

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