François Truffaut

BACK IN MY STUDENT DAYS I caught Jules and Jim practically every time it came around to a repertory house or college film society. I adored it, I knew it by heart, and I always walked out on a cloud, and so I wasn’t prepared, on seeing Francois Truffaut’s masterpiece several summers ago during a revival run at Film Forum, to be so blind-sided. For weeks the story of love derailed and friendship damaged wouldn’t leave me alone. I dreamed about it. I couldn’t get Georges Delerue’s tragic, lyrical music—in my book, the most perfect film score ever written—out of my head. And I puzzled over the mystery of my younger self. How could the picture have meant so much to me before I had struggled through the love and loss that it’s about? What had attracted me? And what had the smitten young me made of that dry yet ebullient ending, when Jules has lost Jim, his dearest friend, and Catherine, his

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