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Jules and Jim [Blu-ray]
(François Truffaut, 1981)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Les Films du Carrosse
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #281 / Artificial Eye
Region: 'A' / Region 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:46:29.966 / 1:45:59.041
Disc Size: 45,876,058,136 bytes / 25,832,947,258 bytes
Feature Size: 22,507,253,760 bytes / 25,264,459,776 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps / 26.76 Mbps
Chapters: 28 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 4th, 2014 / July 28th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English (SDH), none
•Two audio commentaries: one featuring coscreenwriter Jean Gruault, longtime François Truffaut collaborator Suzanne Schiffman, editor Claudine Bouché, and film scholar Annette Insdorf; the other featuring actor Jeanne Moreau and Truffaut biographer Serge Toubiana
• Excerpts from The Key to “Jules and Jim” (1985), a documentary about author Henri-Pierre Roché and the real-life relationships that inspired the novel and film (7:20 + 31:18)
• Interviews with Gruault (20:50) and cinematographer Raoul Coutard (19:18)
• Conversation between film scholars Robert Stam and Dudley Andrew (23:25)
• Excerpt from a 1965 episode of the French TV program Cinéastes de notre temps dedicated to Truffaut (9:02)
• Segment from a 1969 episode of the French TV show L’invité du dimanche featuring Truffaut, Moreau, and filmmaker Jean Renoir (32:04)
• Excerpts from Truffaut’s first appearance on American television, a 1977 interview with New York Film Festival director Richard Roud (9:36)
• Excerpts from a 1979 American Film Institute seminar given by Truffaut (29:03)
• Audio interview with Truffaut from 1980 (28:04)
• Trailer (3:12)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic John Powers, a 1981 piece by Truffaut on Roché, and script notes from Truffaut to Gruault
• Jeanne Moreau Commentary
Introduction by Serge Toubiana (3:48)
Description: Hailed as one of the finest films ever made, Jules and Jim charts, over twenty-five years, the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession. The legendary François Truffaut directs, and Jeanne Moreau stars as the alluring and willful Catherine, whose enigmatic smile and passionate nature lure Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) into one of cinema’s most captivating romantic triangles. An exuberant and poignant meditation on freedom, loyalty, and the fortitude of love, Jules and Jim was a worldwide smash in 1962 and remains every bit as audacious and entrancing today.
Acclaimed French director François Truffaut's third and, for many viewers, best film is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roché. Set between 1912 and 1933, it stars Oskar Werner as the German Jules and Henri Serre as the Frenchman Jim, kindred spirits who, while on holiday in Greece, fall in love with the smile on the face of a sculpture. Back in Paris, the smile comes to life in the person of Catherine (Jeanne Moreau); the three individuals become constant companions, determined to live their lives to the fullest despite the world war around them. When Jules declares his love for Catherine, Jim agrees to let Jules pursue her, despite his own similar feelings; Jules and Catherine marry and have a child (Sabine Haudepin), but Catherine still loves Jim as well. An influential film that has grown in stature over the decades, Jules et Jim was often viewed by the counterculture of the 1960s as a cinematic proponent of the free-love movement, but in actuality the picture is a statement against such a way of life. Despite the bond shared by Jules, Jim, and Catherine, their ménage à trois is doomed to fail; and Catherine's inability to choose between the two men leads to tragic consequences for all three.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The filmmaking is wildly inventive, but not in a Godardian, clever-clogs
manner. Instead, Truffaut and his cinematographer, the great Raoul
Coutard, use handheld camera, freeze-frames, newsreel footage and song
(Catherine’s ditty, ‘Le Tourbillon de la Vie’ [Life’s
Whirlwind] became a hit) in the same way the trio of characters use
races, bicycle trips or, in Catherine’s case, unpremeditated jumps into
the Seine: to keep life (and cinema), crazy and beautiful at all times.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, I can't state how many digital versions of Jules and Jim I own. I initially decided to do an extensive comparison but thought better of it - instead comparing some of the editions in one screen grab below. I am fully aware of the comments about Criterion's last DVD - and the reversed shots (discussed HERE and can be seen HERE) and are not reversed here. The Criterion 1080P image looks quite excellent. The contrast is wonderful allowing Coutard's cinematography to really shine through. Strangely, it may have some cropping on the right edge gaining some information at the bottom of the frame. This is dual-layered and shows some nice textures - presumably a very solid representation of the film. It is in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio and detail, also, jumps ahead a notch. I see no signs of digital manipulation. This Blu-ray was a pleasure to view - a consistent, clean and film-like presentation.
I like Artificial Eye! I think they do the absolute best they can with their modest budget. And, of course, we here at DVDBeaver appreciate the high standard of world cinema that they bring to disc. This is actually slightly more technically robust than the Criterion. It is a shade darker but I suggest most systems wouldn't notice the marginal differences. It seems to be from the same source - framing matches precisely (and there are a few captures we got exact matches with.) Many may lean to the brighter Criterion, but in actuality the AE may be more theatrically accurate. Regardless it's a solid 1080P transfer - worthy of this great film!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Commentary subtitles - Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Criterion, authentically, transfer the audio via a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. Georges Delerue (The Woman Next Door, The Last Metro, Day For Night) did the score - which was named as one of the "10 best soundtracks" by Time magazine in its "All Time 100 Movies" list. It has reached the 'iconic' status and sounds wonderful, predictably, flat, with some notable depth. Certainly the best I have heard - including my, mono, CD. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
Similar audio - Artificial Eye also use a linear PCM - theirs is a bit more robust but my ears couldn't notice a difference. Sync may have been ever-so-slightly off, but I think I noted same on the Criterion - if it exists art all. It does, however, sound excellent (crisp and tight) and there are optional English subtitles on the region 'B'-locked disc.
We get the two, previous, audio commentaries the first one from 1992 featuring co-screenwriter Jean Gruault, longtime Francois Truffaut collaborator Suzanne Schiffman, editor Claudine Bouché. Also included are comments by film scholar Annette Insdorf. The second is from 2000 featuring actor Jeanne Moreau and Truffaut biographer Serge Toubiana. It is presented in French with optional English subtitles. Included are almost 40-minutes of excerpts from The Key to “Jules and Jim” - written and directed by Thomas Honickle in 1985. It is a documentary about author Henri-Pierre Roché and the real-life relationships that inspired the novel and film. We get two 20-minutes separate interviews with Jean Gruault and cinematographer Raoul Coutard, the first was conducted in April 1986 at the Cinematheque francaise in Paris for Rainer Gansera's documentary Working With Truffaut, produced by Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne. Only a few minutes of the interview were released in this film , however. The Criterion Collection was granted access to the complete interview and assembled this version exclusive to this release. The second is with Raoul Coutard who shot films for many of the French New Wave's most celebrated directors including Godard and Truffaut. This interview was conducted by Criterion in Paris in 2003, where he recalls his work on Jules and Jim. There is also a 23-minute conversation between film scholars Robert Stam and Dudley Andrew recorded by Criterion in 2004. They discuss the importance of Jules and Jim. Also here are the excerpt from a 1965 episode of the French TV program Cinéastes de notre temps dedicated to Truffaut running just over 9-minuites, a segment from a 1969 episode of the French TV show L’invité du dimanche featuring Truffaut, Moreau, and filmmaker Jean Renoir lasting over 1/2 an hour. Excerpts from Truffaut’s first appearance on American television, a 1977 interview with New York Film Festival director Richard Roud. As well as excerpts from a 1979 American Film Institute seminar given by Truffaut - lasting another 1/2 hour and finally an audio-only interview with Truffaut from 1980 - also, almost 1/2 hour. There is a trailer plus a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic John Powers, a 1981 piece by Truffaut on Roché, and script notes from Truffaut to Gruault.
AE include the same commentary from 2000 featuring actor Jeanne Moreau and Truffaut biographer Serge Toubiana. Like the Criterion, it is also presented in French with optional English subtitles. There is a 4-minute introduction by Toubiana and a trailer. I only have the screener disc and am unaware of any liner notes. Predictably, Criterion obviously win on the extras-front.
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
I love watching Jules and Jim in 1080P - such a beautiful film... in so many ways. I was very happy with the Artificial Eye presentation and those who are region B'-locked should pick this up with confidence.Bravo AE!
January 22nd, 2014
July 24th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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