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I like it
A newbie in Godard school would find it too tough to get along with the five elusive characters captured in those fifteen vignettes in Masculin féminin. Well, all identify Jean-Luc Godard as the most influential French new wave film director who died last week at the age of 91. If you typically want to know what’s his new wave film movement, no shortcut except watching and decoding his movies. Critics have their versions. But, to me, Godard still remains a wonder.
Masculin féminin was released in 1966. Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud) is the lead. Served mandatory military service, a frustrated, Paul now wants a job. He meets Madeleine (Chantal Goya) works in the printing industry but aspires to be a pop (ye-ye) singer. A young gang forms with her friends and Paul. When the movie was banned for the under-18 crowd in France, Godard was upset and said - it was banned for the very audience it was made.
The aimless youth in Paris floats in cafes, streets, clubs, and trains and the camera follows them. Godard captures their lives from a distance. Nothing in a particular order but it covers everything around. I felt Paris Cafes culture is vividly shown. Youth in love and sex is mirrored. The conversations between Paul and Madeleine are highly intellectual where misogyny is brought out indirectly. An average French woman has no life, heard from a voice around. Many dialogs and sounds and voices of the times are figureless in this film. A woman fires at her husband outside a café following a fight. A man falls onto Paul stabbing himself while coming out of a club. No connects. Political unrest in France and Vietnam and the American culture French women were attracted to.. all come in QA sessions through a poll done by Paul as part of a research job he took up later. Godard took those interviews individually and added them to the film, as read. The actors seem very confused while answering.
"Kill one man and you're a murderer. Kill thousands and you're a conqueror. Kill everyone and you're a god.”-Idealist Paul.