From Martin Scorsese's MasterClass

Scene Discussion: Jules and Jim

Martin dissects the voice-over in François Truffaut's film, explaining how it pushes the story forward and gives the audience copious information about the characters. Martin also analyzes the composition of frames and the effect of the music.

Topics include: Scene From Jules and Jim (1962) Directed By François Truffault

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Martin dissects the voice-over in François Truffaut's film, explaining how it pushes the story forward and gives the audience copious information about the characters. Martin also analyzes the composition of frames and the effect of the music.

Topics include: Scene From Jules and Jim (1962) Directed By François Truffault

Martin Scorsese

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This is the beginning of Jules and Jim-- the first three or four minutes which influence the style of Goodfellas, and Casino and Wolf of Wall Street, and so many. But here you see-- I think a lot of it has to do with the relentlessness of the voiceover and the rapid speech, and also the pace of the music under it. It's pushing the images forward, pushing all of this storytelling forward. They're saying so much about each character. [FRENCH SPEECH] There's no connection-- straight narrative-- with the images. It just goes everywhere. [FRENCH SPEECH] Particularly at this moment, when he's introduced to the girls-- that image comes on very quickly and leaves. The pans now-- the change of locations is something that is completely unexpected. But here, between the voiceover, the movement of the actors in the frame, the compositions in each frame, and the driving force in the music-- the beat of the music under all of this-- it gave me the impression, the possibility of doing an entire film this way, or at least having the freedom. It feels like it's a sense of freedom. Anything can happen at any moment. You weren't tied to a direct story, even in this-- even if it was a story to the extent of a character walking in a scene, sitting down, getting up, walking around, or walking in a park. This is a-- the narrative is completely fractured, I think, by this extraordinary sequence.

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Comments

Desiree

It's interesting too, because they way we're all taught to screen write, --you intro in characters before they act or speak. It kind of promotes a certain kind of shot and narrative. For Truffaut to just have characters running into scenes without much ado, or already having met when the narration is describing how they met. It makes you wonder what the screenplay looked like or how he wrote it.

Desiree

Yes, there’s freedom in this film. There’s the breakneck pace, the feeling that you’ve just jumped headfirst into the swirling rapids of a river moving too fast for you to catch your breath or get your bearings. There’s the narrative which weaves wildly all over the place. The camera angles and jumps. The music playing too loudly and wildly. The lack of intros for characters who also seem to just dive into the story without so much as a "hello." There’s freedom, but there’s also the sense of a car going too fast, perilously close to going over the edge on a turn it takes too wildly. There is the feeling of tottering on the edge of a cliff and relying on prayer and luck that you don’t go over. Maybe that’s why it feels like such a fresh and youthful film to so many. Remember when you could dare to take a corner like that, because you were young and luck was tangible and you were invincible? That freedom and exhilaration makes everything feel breezy and light in the film. Anything could happen here, how exciting. But there’s also a sense that everything is ultimately meaningless. That nothing here can make an impact or even really reach us. Jules tries on woman after woman, each summed up by a singular trait, a widow, a blonde, a hooker, a quiet one, etc…. Catherine is an anarchist, a bohemian, a mother, a chaplin tramp, but nothing ever really sticks…. They all seem to possess a hunger that drives them to the next thing and the next, without ever being fully satiated. All of which makes you wonder, is it really freedom? It’s kind of a perfect metaphor for the Belle Epoch.

Avery D.

Awesome contrast between all of the different scene discussions! It's given me a lot to think about. Thanks Martin!

Mia S.

"The beginning of 'Jules and Jim' - the first three or four minutes, which influence the style of 'Goodfellas' and 'Casino,' 'Wolf of Wall Street' and so many. But here you see, I think a lot of it has to do with the relentlessness of the voice-over and the rapid speech, and also the pace of the music under it - it's pushing the images forward, pushing all of this storytelling forward. They're saying so much about each character. There's no connection - straight narrative - with the images. It just goes everywhere. Particularly at this moment where he's introducing the girls, that image comes on very quickly and leaves. It pans now - the change of locations is something that is completely unexpected' but here, between the voice-over, the movement of the actors in the frame, the compositions in each frame.and the driving force in the music, the beat, under all of this, it gave me the impression - the possibility - of doing an entire film this way, or at least having the freedom. It feels like it's a sense of freedom, anything can happen at any moment. You weren't tied to a direct story, even if it was a story to the extent of a character walking in a scene, sitting down, getting up, walking around, in a park. The narrative is completely fractured, I think, by this extraordinary sequence."

Jake "Joker" B.

It's the classics and great films that were the foundation for modern-day, and all for that matter, cinema. Without Jules and Jim, Good Fellas and Wolves of Wallstreet would not exist, or at least not in the same capacity. Still saw fascinating to really get the in depth details of the behind-the-camera details. I've always been in front of it, but I am learning so much about film acting through understanding the composition of frames, use of music, etc. etc.

Vivian

This is a totally different type of film, fast paced and fragmented. Very interesting. I enjoy Martin's intuitive analysis.

Wendy R.

I loved the freewheeling nature of the film in terms of dialogue and location. HOWEVER, it's annoying to hear Scorsese talk about the fast pace of the music, and we can't hear it because he's talking right over it.

William J.

During my childhood days, I used to dread watching movies that were foreign due to the different languages hahaha. Even black and white I was tough on. Nowadays, I’m a completely different person. Black and white movies are perhaps the film industries greatest asset. Foreign movies I love now!

Kimberly S.

Another great choice to consider. Truffault was a pioneer in jump cut montage. Notice the angles from shot to shot. How they hook your eye even though the location shifts in a seemingly disjointed way. This is visual poetry that respects the intelligence of the audience.

Gippsland G.

Nice example of how VO and music and image can work together to create the sense of 'fracturedness' (after the first scene). And more... a sense of movement almost for its own sake, the kind of movement that speaks of indecision, and a kind of obsessive compulsive behaviour that emerges after disappointment in love. Nikolai Blaskow