To fully explain how I view Jules and Jim, I have to start with a story.

I once received a letter from my great uncle about my grandmother's youth in Scotland, around the time Jules and Jim was set. He described how one day while he was enjoying a book, my grandmother got really snarky whilst cleaning the house, and flew into a range that had him run away for the rest of the day. When I first read the tale, I laughed, amused by the quirky and seemingly silly story. But then my aunt offered another spin on the memory, which gave it a whole different light.

She painted a picture where my grandmother was a woman shackled by societal expectation, infuriated not on a whim, but because she was cleaning the house from top to bottom with no help, while her brother relaxed and read. (And, knowing my grandmother's voracious appetite for literature, I'm sure jealousy made the sting double.) I realized I was imbuing the story with my own experience, making false assumptions due to the entirely different life I lead. I assumed it was her turn to clean; I imagined her life as having the same freedoms that I enjoy.

Watching Jules and Jim, I can't stop thinking of that letter.
categories Columns, Cinematical