La Chinoise

1967 ‧ Drama/Comedy-drama ‧ 1h 39m – French with English subtitles –

Not just a period film, La Chinoise… is a chunk of the period.

Everything in this film seems to be constructed for its central purpose, which is to make you THINK. Sounds like a dare, doesn’t it? This is an essential film.

Director Jean-Luc Godard, whose advocacy of Maoism bordered on intoxication, infuriated many traditionalist critics with his swiftly paced satire La Chinoise.

Godard’s then-wife Anne Wiazemsky plays a philosophy student who commiserates with the four members of her campus Maoist group.

They are so taken by the external trappings of their cause–the posters, the Little Red Books, the by-rote chantings–that they seem not to grasp the true meaning of their political persuasion. Nor do they give any thought to the long-range ramifications of their terrorist activities.

Godard is obviously on the students’ side throughout, though he balances their fanaticism with the comparative gentility of old-style revolutionaries.

Relevant at its theater release and when viewed some 50 years later.