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La Chinoise [DVD] [1967]

Anne Wiazemsky , Jean-Pierre Léaud , Jean-Luc Godard    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: £23.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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La Chinoise [DVD] [1967] + Breathless [DVD] (1960)
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Product details

  • Actors: Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto, Michel Semeniako, Lex De Bruijn
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Writers: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: AV Channel
  • DVD Release Date: 15 April 2005
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CCQANW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,770 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Australia released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Director Jean-Luc Godard, whose advocacy of Maoism bordered on intoxication, infuriated many traditionalist critics with his swiftly paced satire La Chinoise. Godard's then-wife Anne Wiazemsky plays a philosophy student who commiserates with the four members of her campus Maoist group. They are so taken by the external trappings of their cause--the posters, the Little Red Books, the by-rote chantings--that they seem not to grasp the true meaning of their political persuasion. Nor do they give any thought to the long-range ramifications of their terrorist activities. Godard is obviously on the students' side throughout, though he balances their fanaticism with the comparative gentility of old-style revolutionaries. Nonfans of Godard were given migraines by the director's perverse refusal to film even the simplest sequence in a linear, logical fashion. La Chinoise quickly gained the reputation of a 'head film', best appreciated when the viewer is stoned. In these PC days, the audience for this sort of film is generally 'straight'...which may be why it has seldom been shown in recent years.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Venice Film Festival, ...La Chinoise

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Self-Mocking View of Ingenuity 4 April 2006
Format:DVD
The movie consist of a collage of a series of 'sketches'. Each offering an insightful, and somewhat 'second degrée', perspective of a group of näive bourgeois college students immersing themselves in the teachings of Chairman Mao, playing at plotting a communist coup, discussing politics in a college republic style, all the ideals that made the avant-garde at the time. Just before the romantic may 68 student riots.
Godard's style is crude in a radical (typical of the time) and contaminated by contemporary pop-art, visually and also in the soundtrack.
The most political of his works, it still doesn't say much about his own political beliefs.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Chinoise [1967] 22 Jun 2008
By A.S.
Format:DVD
Among Godard's films, la Chinoise currently stands as my favourite. Very Brechtian in its form, it does not let the audience enter a state of complacency and let the plot flow: it demands attention.

The bare plot is simple enough, and I won't outline it here, but what is great about this film is its spirit. I daresay it captures the atmosphere of the times - of a contemporaneous flat of young political activists - perfectly. I stress the word 'atmosphere', as that is the first thing that draws you in. The little things, the note-writing on the walls, posters, paintings, books, the way the people in the flat sit, stand, study, listen to the radio, and relate to each other, all of these paint in successive strokes the atmosphere of the flat.

But then the camera moves and decides to show the crew and the equipments and so we are not even allowed to forget that this is a show. The characters come forward in an interview like monologue (we can't hear the interlocutor) and tell you about themselves, how they came to be in that flat, their political beliefs, etc. They may just be playing their parts and reciting dialogue but one gets the feeling that they are also speaking for themselves (a character (Guillaume) explicitly says that he is!)

Now for the most demanding part of the film, the actual 'text', shall I say? Apart from incessant quotes from the Red Book, the actual dialogues and talks in the film are quite intellectually demanding, and in fact quite enlightening at times. I do recommend a second view to get more out of the film. I was especially impressed by the talk between Véronique and the Professor-activist in the train.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Feckless propoganda 26 Jun 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Roman Polanksi once said that "people like Godard are like little kids playing at being revolutionaries", noting that he himself had actually grown up surrounded by the realities of communism and did not find the romaticised version of it entertaining. As a general rule I would always try to avoid letting a filmmaker's personal tastes, opinions and politics affect my response to their work - how else could one allow themselves to admire Polanski's work...? However, as La Chinoise is essentially a political statement, it's impossible not to let Godard's pseudo politics affect my opinion of it. Sadly, Polanski's comment sums this film up perfectly.

There is no plot. What we are subjected to amounts to little more than a series of vignettes of utterly bourgeois adolescents rambling their tin-pot political philosophies from the comfort of their upper middle class apartments. Was this supposed to be ironic? Or are we supposed to buy into the ideas of these vacuous kids? It fails on both levels. All I wanted to do was give all of them a good slap across the chops and tell them to grow up.

Am I missing the point? Do I just not get it? Perhaps, and I'm fine with that. I truly love some of Godard's films; Vivra Sa Vie, Pierrot Le Fou, Le Mepris. The difference is that all of these films had something or someone for me to care about. The one thing that might have saved La Chinoise for me would have been for all the characters to catch bubonic plague and die horribly. That would have been a pay off worth waiting for.

Stylistically the film has Godard written all over it but, by the time this film came out (in 1967), these flairs were already wearing a little thin, especially when they're essentially there to veil an utterly feckless piece of propaganda.
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