Tonight I showed Jules and Jim to my class. The reaction was decidedly mixed. A few of the men in the class hated the movie virulently. A couple of the women thought it was terrific.
I don't know if I can properly convey to them what energizes me about the French New Wave, and about Truffaut in particular. It's not my favorite cinematic scene by a long shot. But I respond almost viscerally to the infectious sense of freedom and experimentation in those movies -- the belief that everything in culture, everything in photography and film history, is available to be recontextualized, remixed, repurposed to express a spontaneous feeling of the moment.
That shouldn't be a surprise, because I'm always jolted by that boldness and freedom in art. Whether it succeeds or fails, I get excited when someone asserts a vision, especially if they do it by annexing a powerful piece of art that already exists, bending it to their will.
I'll be interested to see what the students do with their blogs this week. I suspect there will be some talk about bricolage as an artistic strategy, and probably a lot of discussion of cool women. And I fully expect some students to make the case that this film and these characters aren't worth their time. If you're intrigued too, stay tuned -- I'll provide some links in a few days.