Masculin-Feminin (1966)

Masculin-Feminin (1966)

“Don’t you think you’re the center of the world?”

A young Parisian (Jean-Pierre Léaud) newly out of military service pursues an aspiring singer (Chantal Goya) while also bedding her roommates, Catherine (Catherine-Isabelle Duport) and Elisabeth (Marlène Jobert).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • French Films
  • Jean-Luc Godard Films
  • Love Triangle

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary refers to Jean-Luc Godard’s eleventh feature-length film as “one of most memorable films of the sixties, about the ‘Children of Marx and Coca-Cola’.” He argues that it “captures the sense of an exciting, confusing, often frustrating era when young people in France and America were simultaneously learning leftist politics and having their first sexual affairs” — and he notes that “being involved in politics was so much fun because it brought together many people with similar viewpoints whose blood was already pumping and adrenaline already flowing.”

While this film continues to be almost universally lauded — with a Metacritic score of 93, and inclusion in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die — its appeal eludes me. These boring, self-absorbed young individuals are as aimless on screen as they appear to be in their own lives, and I don’t understand the desire to watch them interact for an hour and 43 minutes.

They sit around in coffeeshops, pursue and/or sleep with one another, interview each other about sex and politics, spray-paint political slogans, go to the movies, do laundry, smoke, and I suppose act very much like young people at a certain time in their lives — exploring who they are, who they like, and what they want to do. But there’s not a whole lot in the narrative to hold onto or wait to see unfolding; while Peary refers to the “depressing ending” as a “surprise”, I simply find it pointless.

Note: I was amused to read the following on IMDb’s Trivia page:

The film within a film sequence which parodies the work of Ingmar Bergman was shot at the Scandic Hotel Continental, Stockholm. Ingmar Bergman, not being a fan of Jean-Luc Godard found out about the film, went to go and see it and called it “a classic case of Godard: mind-numbingly boring.”

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Willy Kurant’s cinematography

Must See?
Nope; while many disagree, I think this one is only for Godard completists.

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)


One thought on “Masculin-Feminin (1966)

  1. Skip it. It’s likely there’s not much of a middle-ground when it comes to Godard; you either like him (for whatever possible reason) or you don’t.

    I’d seen this flick years ago and (not surprisingly) did not have a memory of liking (or finding much worth in) it. I attempted giving it another shot and got about 20 minutes in – at the point where the singularly untalented Léaud says to Goya: “I really like your kind of breasts.” ~ and I said to myself, ‘Ok, I’m done with this.’

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