Ahhh Jean Luc Godard. The enfant terrible of nouvelle Vauge cinema. He of the fractured frame. The terrorist of cinema. The man, once a generation ago, I almost got a chance to interview and worried I would have nothing worth asking and he would say, what is worth saying! Well Criterion have introduced one of his most famous films and we are going to review.

So to describe a Godard films plot could be considered futile and empty. Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud) is young and  idealistic. He has returned from military service and cares little for anything but a job. In a café, he meets Madeleine Zimmer (Chantal Goya). Madeleine is a singer. Her goal is to make a record and be in the ears of everyone. While chatting they witness a woman having an argument with her partner. It ends in a drawn gun and his death. The act is futile but the aspirations of these young things could also be just as empty?

Godard loved Pop culture, politics and Paris. All three are at the front in MASCULIN FEMININ A film that contains references to various pop culture icons and political figures of the time, but really asks a question for this and subsequent ages. Forget the Marxist, who try to control the foreground of this debate, instead see how Godard dismantles and dissects society from its obsessions. As I get older, I both love and loath Godard’s films. I was a militant Godard as a youth. Radical and raging, he made me love cinema. Knowing it could be so much more than the hum drum average. However today some of his considered masterpieces, are painful to watch. To his self knowing films like MADE IN USA or his self indulgent films like LA CHINOSE. Both wag a finger at you and you just want to say, Fuck off. Then you see WEEKEND, an utter majestically intelligent film about our car obsession. MASCULIN FEMININ is almost as good. Telling, informed and actually worth your time.


The 4K adds a note of richness to the stock and deals with the grain problems from before but I would say, with a very good print still in circulation and Criterion hogging the releases, there was not much else to expect. Why are we paying for so little in this respect?


The interviews are the best place to go. Goya in later life is reflective. Kurant has some relevant insight and Gorin gives us an view of Godard from creative and contorted.

• New 4K digital restoration, approved by cinematographer Willy Kurant, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Interview from 1966 with actor Chantal Goya
• Interviews from 2004 and 2005 with Goya, Kurant, and Jean-Luc Godard collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin
• Discussion of the film from 2004 between film critics Freddy Buache and Dominique Païni
• Footage from Swedish television of Godard directing the “film within the film” scene
• Trailers
• PLUS: An essay by film critic Adrian Martin and a reprint of a report from the set by French journalist Philippe Labro

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