best film: Jules and Jim. I have Jules and Jim as the 15th best film of all-time. That also makes it the best film of the French New Wave, the best film from France, and the best film to star a woman (or at least the film in which the best performance given in the film is from a woman—I could see someone arguing the title characters (both males) are the leads). I hope the next years, decades and century of cinema has even better roles for women but if you look at the only films ahead of Truffaut’s masterpiece here they are very male-driven (Apocalypse Now, The Searchers, Raging Bull, Seven Samurai, etc).

best performance:  Jules and Jim. Moreau is spectacular in it—she eats the scenes she’s in completely (sorry Oskar Werner and Henri Serre). If you combine that with the paragraph above on the greatest of Jules and Jim you have an all-time performance worthy of tremendous praise and appreciation. The film doesn’t work if you don’t fall in love with Moreau like Jules, Jim (and Truffaut) clearly are.

stylistic innovations/traits: Thanks to Truffaut, those damn freeze frames of her, and that running scene dressed as a man, Moreau is a permanent fixture of art cinema and the French New Wave. She was actually clipping along fine before the early 60’s (She’s wonderful in Elevator to the Gallows) but clearly Truffaut’s film (cameo in 400 Blows as well) changed the trajectory. She worked with Antonini, Bunuel and Demy as well in the era. Moreau could play Deneuve’s deadpan calm beauty—but also could animate (beyond what her blonde French counterpart could) as well as say Masina.

directors worked with:  Truffaut (3), Malle (3), Welles (2)… and then once a piece with Antonioni, Demy, Bunuel and a quick cameo with Godard.

Top 10 Performances:

  1. Jules and Jim
  2. Elevator to the Gallows
  3. La Notte
  4. The Bride Wore Black
  5. The Lovers
  6. Diary of a Chambermaid
  7. Bay of Angels
  8. Monte Walsh
  9. Chimes at Midnight
  10. The Train

Archiveable films

1954- Touchez Pas au Grisbi
1957- Elevator to the Gallows
1958- The Lovers
1959- The 400 Blows
1961- A Woman is a Woman
1961- La Notte
1962- Jules and Jim
1963- Bay of Angels
1963- The Fire Within
1964- Diary of a Chambermaid
1966- Chimes at Midnight
1968- The Bride Wore Black
1970- Monte Walsh
1990- La Femme Nikita