Skip to main content

Jules et Jim

                                                      Photo:dickgraves.wordpress.com

Jules et Jim is considered by many to be Truffaut's best work. I've been working on it again with two groups of A-level students and I'm hoping to get them to share in my enthusiasm. But I remember myself that when I first saw this movie I was slightly underwhelmed. I recall that little emotion was communicated from the screen, the film seemed episodic and that the lead character, Catherine, played by Jeanne Moreau was simply not very appealing.

But what you have to remember with Jules et Jim is that it is, above all, a hommage to a book which inspired Truffaut after he came across it by chance at a second hand book shop in Paris. The autobiographical novel, with its charming simplicity and clipped sentences, is faithfully rendered on the screen, thanks to the superb acting, particularly of Jeanne Moreau and Oskar Werner, the use of the original text in the dialogue and voice- off narration, and the rapid editing and new wave camera tricks which reflect the style of the novel. It is also a rather beautiful film to look at, with its pastoral scenes; and a lovely film to listen to, with its uplifting, sometimes bitter-sweet score by Georges Delerue. With several viewings you also appreciate Truffaut's enormous attention to detail.

As for that lack of emotion, that slightly detached flatness, Truffaut said that he did not want to over-dramatise events which were the memories of a writer in his seventies, Henri-Pierre Roché. The film should be like an old album of photos, memories recalled fondly, but with the detachment of time passed. A good example is when Catherine suddenly jumps into the Seine to grab back the attention of the two men in her life. The event takes the viewer by surprise and is accompanied by a melodramatic twist in the score, but then immediately Truffaut goes to a voice-off narrative which distances us from the scene and reminds us we are looking at a filmed book.

This degree of subtlety is hard to communicate to students, as is the principal theme of the film, that the couple is inadequate, that alternatives are worth exploring, but that happiness is always fleeting. The pleasing title of the book (which is what first attracted Truffaut to it) reflects the fact that the most long-lasting and reliable relationship is that of the two men. The complicity between the male characters of the film, who all vie for Catherine's attention, is striking.

If you haven't seen the movie, read the book first. There is a nice interview with Truffaut about the film here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axangp41lsU&feature=related

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.

Attitudes16





An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at dolanguages.com, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…