The Directory, the final part of DK Canada’s The Movie Book continues to bring me exemplary films to expand my cinematic education, and today it brings me a classic Truffaut film.
Adapting the novel of the same name by Henri-Pierre Rochem, Truffaut serves not only as director but writer and producer as well. The film follows a pair of friends, Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) over the course of years before and after The Great War. Their friendship is anchored by a shared love of art, and the bohemian lifestyle, as well as their shared romantic interest in Catherine (Jeanne Moreau).
Jules initially wins Catherine over, and after the war, which sees the two friends fighting on opposite sides of the war, they reunite, Jim discovering that Jules and Catherine are alive, together, and have a daughter.
But things aren’t perfect, Jules reveals the problems in their marriage and is worried that Catherine is going to leave him for good. In an attempt to keep her in his life, he lets Jim know that he has his blessing to pursue and marry her, as the pair of friends are nigh inseparable, and he would still be able to see her.
But this isn’t just a French New Wave film, it’s a French film, so there will be no Hollywood endings here.
Everyone in the film turns in a solid performance and there’s an almost cinema verite to the movie with the way it is shot, and it truly feels like we are looking in on the private lives and loves of these characters.
Truffaut shows, once again, that he is a true master and the camera, in it’s objective style, appears to capture the raw emotional moments of these characters, as well as the romance and friendship that ties them all together, for better or worse.
Each of the characters is wholly realised, working through their own issues, and following their own arcs, and are brought to life with ease by the cast. The viewer watches the way the relationships affect not only the friendship of Jules and Jim, but each other, and that of Catherine.
It’s a film that is emblematic of the time that it was made and yet it’s themes of love, friendship, loss, desire continue to have relevance to this day, making the story an enduring one.
DK Books’ The Movie Book has yet to steer me wrong, and I am enjoying my time perusing The Directory. Pick up a copy for yourself, and find something new to you to watch tonight!