Masculine Feminine

Rated NR 2005

Of the 15 feature films (Breathless to Weekend) the prolific wild child Jean-Luc Godard directed between 1960 and 1967, this 1966 work may have the quirkiest charms -- not least because it addresses Parisian youth culture in the tumultuous 1960s with affection, but without giving way to any sort of sentimentality. While sticking his camera into low-rent cafes and discotheques inhabited by young characters he labels "the children of Marx and Coca-Cola," Godard provides his vision of love, commerce, and politics in the era of sexual liberation and the American misadventure in Vietnam -- through the eyes (and the ceaseless chatter) of two 20-year-olds trying desperately to define themselves. The serious young Communist played by Jean-Pierre Leaud and the aspiring pop singer played by Chantal Goya seem very different at first, but they are united by their burning questions and frequently incoherent longings. The film's 15 disparate vignettes nourish each other nicely, and taken together they can be as outlandishly funny as they are committed to what Godard called "Cinemarx." Re-released in sparkling new black-and-white prints.

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Masculine Feminine

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