Sign in to follow this  

Masculin Feminin (1966)

3 posts in this topic

Jean-Luc Godard's Masculin  Feminin rejuvenates with each viewing.   The film looks at university students in Paris, in late November and early December of 1965.  Paul (Jean-Pierre Leaud),  a socialist and public opinion pollster, falls in love with Madeleine (Chantal Goya).  He chats her up in a cafe, expressing his distaste for capitalism, the bourgeois, etc., while Madeleine, half-listening,  has her compact out, carefully  applying make-up.  Madeleine's only ambition is to be a famous pop singer (which Goya was at the time).


Madeleine and her friends, Elisabeth and Catherine, don't care much for politics.   Paul defines himself by what he stands for.  Wide-eyed and restless,  he spray paints anti-Vietnam War messages on cars and buildings.   And, together with his friend Robert, is not above asking a woman having coffee if he can reach across her table for some sugar,  just to have a  peek at her breasts, a sophomoric move if there ever was one.   Paul's liberalism doesn't extend to this music; he likes classical, and never heard of fellow political ally Bob Dylan.


I love that the characters aren't bent to conform to  stereotypes.  The women don't much care for current events, but they aren't portrayed as vacuous.  Madeleine endures Paul's diatribes against authoritarianism  with amusement, aware they hold for Paul a certain romanticism.  Madeleine's initial wariness at Paul's growing attachment gives way.  The fluidity of their relationship is quite something.


Masculin Feminin epitomizes what made the French New Wave one of the most influential movements in cinema:  no rigorous plotting and structure; no need to explain everything that happens. There's a scene in which a woman shoots her husband in public view, and is later seen propositioning a man at a table.  The randomness and contradictions work to the film's favor.    Masculin Feminin drips with cool and style.  The black & white photography has an under-lit beauty.  A lyricism runs throughout.  Paris as a cafe paradise is well represented, from the traffic noises outside, to the sound of espresso machines, and the ding of spoons tapping the demitasse.  There are excursions into Paris's grand boulevards at night, with people coming and going.   Everything au courant is thrown at the screen: the Beatles, birth control, the War, De Gaulle, the Republic, workers rights, you name it.  If Godard's goal was to have the film serve as a touchstone of a time and place, he certainly succeeded.


The film is divided into chapters, each one introduced with what sounds like a gun shot.    The last chapter is brilliantly called the Children of Marx and Coca Cola, and Godard encourages audiences to give this name to the film if they prefer.  The Children of Marx and Coca Cola, may they live forever.





  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/4/2017 at 8:20 AM, rayban said:

"Masculin/Feminin" is a film whose freshness is ever-constant.


Great Picture.  I love this film and keep returning to it.  The imagery and conversations are so dazzling and the characters are immensely likable.  I could go on and on about the great Godard.  

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:


Having problems?

Contact Us