Friday, February 27, 2009

Long Live Cool?

Before we started Jules and Jim, we were asked to focus on questions pertaining to the film; one was, “Even though the movie spans historical time, it is still about the moment. Is cool lasting of ephemeral?” This really got me thinking about the amount of time something is cool, and apparently it puzzled all of us because we had a big discussion about it.

If we go back to F John’s lecture on cool, it would seem that certain styles of cool become un-cool with time. Just think about your parents trying to be “hip and cool, yo”. What was the latest trend to them is so last century to us. We grow out of this trendy kind of cool. For example, how about the TLC show, “What Not to Wear”; it is strictly about those who try to “keep the old cool”. Moms wearing miniskirts, gogo boots, beads and jewels and sparkles galore, business women wearing cartoons to the office, young women wearing granny clothes, all of these atrocities and more can be found on this show. There was one mom on the show who had a 10-year-old comment that she had the same pair of jeans as the mom! These women show that one specific cool may be alright at one point, but not further down the road. We talked about holding on to a cool, and I think that we concluded it can’t be done. The cool moment will never be the same if we try to hold on and recreate that same cool.

We talked about this with movies. Take Jules and Jim, for instance. I first found Catherine very cool because of her spirit; however, as the movie progressed, I started to get tire of her intensity and lack of change. Her cool wore off as time progressed. I attribute this to the wearing down of the surprise. Catherine’s free, spontaneous spirit ironically became less of a surprise. Towards the end of the movie, her actions didn’t shock me as much as at the beginning. So, perhaps the answer to this question is simpler than I thought: Cool is ephemeral.

However, what about the classics? Are they cool? Is there a difference between cool and classic? I think that the classics hint that cool can live on. Think about

Star Wars,

or 007.

These characters are seen again and again and again without ever seeming to grow old. So now it seems that cool is lasting.

Well, as I stated before, there isn’t an easy answer. Some forms of cool are temporary while others are eternal.


  1. I really enjoyed this post, Amanda. I thought your point about Catherine and how her spontaneity in the beginning of the film begins to grow tiresome towards the end was especially good.

  2. Interesting stuff!

    The temporary vs. eternal idea is one that often plagues me. How can we tell which is which? Or are we all doomed to end up driving off bridges to avoid staring on What Not To Wear?