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Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

France 1967 96 mins. In French

Starring French New Wave icons Jean-Pierre Léaud (The 400 Blows), Anne Wiazemsky (Au Hasard Balthazar, Weekend), and Juliet Berto (Celine and Julie Go Boating), Godard’s pre-’68 paean to the radical youth of Paris is both one of his most thrillingly alive films and a transitional work, between his Hollywood-inspired nouvelle vague beginnings and his later, overtly political and aesthetically adventurous work. A group of students infatuated with the ideas of Mao and the Chinese Cultural Revolution hole up in a Parisian flat, steeping themselves in radical philosophies and imagining another world within the walls of this tiny constructed space—but what sounds deathly serious is instead, like many of Godard’s films, wholly playful and brimming with references to the history of art and film. In the end, La Chinoise is one of Godard’s finest, most lasting creations—“a time capsule of an attitude, capturing an electricity in the air that foretold the chaos to come. It’s a beautiful, troubling, prophetic work.”—Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice.

Genres: Godard

Appears in: Essential Cinema