Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jules et Jim

I watched Truffaut's Jules et Jim the other day and I fell in love with this scene from the beginning of the film. Jeanne Moreau, the flighty and capricious Catherine, is making faces at her male companions, Jules and Jim. She elucidates how she used to frown...


...but because of Jules' sprite, she always smiles...


What's remarkable is that these moving shots become photographic stills and the effervescent Catherine becomes a figure captured in time. And Jeanne Moreau does not look like she's posing at all, switching her facial expressions and contorting her angles as effortlessly as a modelesque beauty. I love that the camera's snapshots of her are so fluid.

Then there's the irony in still movement. The attempt to capture her moods is impossible for Catherine's temperament could never allow it. She is the personification of caprice. Truffaut illuminates the ease of pinpointing a moment of her disposition - a frown, a smile, a tilt of the head - but it's the very ease of doing this that amplifies the difficulty of preserving those moments. Feelings are not static. Catherine is never just sad, or just happy; she is an unstable force that will never be captured by the lens, by the two men, or by the audience.


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