I wanted a French film for this list; toujours l’amour, and all that. On reflection, I realized that the best Gallic movie romances aren’t in love so much as about it. They observe their besotted specimens with a fond detachment. That’s the case with Francois Truffaut’s intimate epic spanning two Paris decades. Two intellectuals, the German Jules (Oskar Werner) and Frenchman Jim (Henri Serre), both love the elusive Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), and she reciprocates, in her fashion. Oh, you’ll cry, and laugh, thanks in part to a rapturous score by Georges Delerue that sets the melancholy mood. But Truffaut’s real love is movies, and this coolly delightful, wildly influential film is an expert lover’s valentine to cinema.
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