Before I begin this post I want to tell everyone that is (or isn’t) viewing this homepage that I am sorry for not updating for awhile. I have been on vacation, but hopefully I will be able to continue to post everyday again. There have been some changes in my personal situation, so it will become a little harder, but I will try to muscle my way through it and provide you with my awesome insight into totally rad films.
But please, can we stay on topic? Geeze. You came here to hear about Godard, not listen to my whining.
La Chinoise belongs in the same camp as the last few films I have written about. It represents his transition that will be (hopefully) submitted with the next film I will be reviewing, Weekend. This is the bright and colorful Godard. This is the extreme radical Maoist Godard. This is the loose plot line and pretentious dialogue Godard. This is the new Godard. Man I hope he smooths out his edges in the next film.
About several young radicals who spend the summer in a bourgeois apartment plotting revenge, this film feels heavy. It feels like this is Godard yelling at the viewer: I am obscure and I am political damn it! If you can’t tell by now, I didn’t particularly like this film. I think something may have been lost in the generation gap. I and several other people are very aware how the Maoist Government in Communist China has failed. To see this Little Red Book venerated in what was supposed to be a very radical and very hip way was weird. They treated it like it was the Bible essentially. There are several scenes where the characters in the film walk around a room reciting passages to everyone else. Is Maoism the most ideal Communism? Absolutely not. (Of course you can say that about Stalinism too)
There were a few too many scenes where the actors were reciting propaganda, swallowing it whole, and then moving on. These scenes were not compelling. It was also not compelling when characters talked at the other characters. In fact I was mostly bored by those scenes. He did nothing interesting with the camera and says nothing with the statements other than “hey do I know political philosophy.” The scenes I did like were the interview scenes and the long scene that the young woman has with one of her professors on a train. During these times, I sat up and I said “Yes. They actually believe what they are saying.” It was no longer a sham. It felt real. It felt like they were characters and not actors being told what to say or do. Where this film failed was that these scenes are too far apart from each other. The dead space is filled to the brim with pretentious dogmatism.
I can take politics. I can take dogmatism. I just can’t take these things when there is no imagination and belief behind them. Essentially I need the character to believe in what they are saying in order to make a compelling film. Hopefully Godard realized at the time that some of the “tricks” he employed were not interesting and refined his style even more in his next film. Fingers crossed.
P.S. The Mao Mao song was pretty funny and cool. Totally sixties.