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La Chinoise

La Chinoise (1968)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 704

My Rating

Movie Info

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

Unrated,

Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Jean-Luc Godard

May 13, 2008

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (0) | DVD (3)

Maybe Andy Warhol didn't make the quintessential Pop Art masterwork. Maybe Jean-Luc Godard did.

February 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The spirited cast -- including Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, and Juliet Berto -- make all this touching as well as troubling.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Distinctly disquieting as well as gratingly funny.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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Not just a period film, La Chinoise...is a chunk of the period.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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Maoism appears as the latest campus fad in Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 film.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everything in this film seems to be constructed for its central purpose, which is to make you THINK. Sounds like a dare, doesn't it? One of Godard's lesser seen, but nonetheless essential films.

August 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Relevant at its theater release and when viewed some sixty years later.

May 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Best for Godard addicts.

May 16, 2008 Full Review Source: EDGE Boston
EDGE Boston

Prophetic, powerful, disconcerting, infuriating, and surprisingly funny.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Godard's acute examination of the political climate of the period.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's shocking to see Godard bite the hand that admires him, but this is what makes the movie relevant and timeless.

October 10, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

Audience Reviews for La Chinoise

Humour should be at the core of all good satire. Jean-Luc Godard has mastered a lot in his lengthy career but I'm afraid Satire isn't one of them. La Chinoise is very clever, beautifully shot and is an important piece of pop art. Inserting various slogans and political pictures of the time was fairly revolutionary editing at the time and La Chinoise is an important historical and political work, it's just dreadfully dull. It's like being told the same joke for 93 minutes that wasn't even funny the first time. Monty Python did it better in a 3 minute sketch. Watch it because you love Jean-Luc Godard, the 60's and bright colours.
May 23, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

So it's a satire?
I struggled to understand what this film is about throughout most of the ninety-five minutes, and I blame part of my struggles on my own ignorance: I don't know the time, the political climate, or Godard well enough to have any context. What I do know is that this film is remarkably hard to watch. It's either too-deft satire or preaching with the fervor that would make a Baptist minister blush. It's either a disjointed film in the tradition of Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom or so post-structural that even Jacques Derrida is screaming, "What the fuck?" Either way, what I said about Masculin Feminin is not true here: though it is jumbled, it is not ultimately compelling. Rather, its effect is repelling.
March 15, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

One of Jean-Luc Godard's most bluntly political works, "La Chinoise" is not easy to watch. The characters recite speeches and quotes more than they "act," and the film is so packed with harsh edits and two-layer dialogue that watching it may require a few rest breaks. Furthermore, people not fluent in French (this includes me) will be handicapped because the subtitles do not adequately cover all the overlapping talk, radio announcements and handwritten text that flood the frames. (Suffice to say that walls and blackboards are never wasted if they present an opportunity to display slogans or lecture notes.)

At first glance, "La Chinoise" comes off like a movie about ideology alone, where actors only serve to deliver Godard's agitprop rather than to exist as personalities. But eventually, a sense of narrative emerges. The story -- loosely based on Dostoyevsky's novel "The Possessed" -- centers on a small group of student radicals who share an apartment. They are financially comfortable and a bit sheltered from the real world, and this inexperience is crucial. Their passionate exchanges of Marxist/Maoist doctrine and complaints about society initially seem presented as weighty truths, but the students' naivete is more than evident by the film's end. Godard's own position remains ambiguous -- he seems to crave the oft-discussed socialist revolution, but just doesn't trust these kids to lead it.

Jean-Pierre Leaud and Anne Wiazemsky (Godard's one-time wife) are engaging in difficult roles, while the shots are attractively overloaded with primary yellows, blues and (especially) reds. Notable elements include an extended train dialogue between Wiazemsky and philosopher Francis Jeanson, a botched assassination, a catchy Marxist pop song, novelty guns that transform into radios and movie cameras, Leaud's depiction of international policies via a table of country-themed sunglasses and Juliet Berto's comic portrayal of a Vietnamese peasant attacked with toy planes. Copies of Mao Tse-Tung's "Little Red Book" are absurdly piled everywhere, and of course Godard inserts plenty of clapboard shots and jarring photo stills to prevent anyone from becoming too comfortable.
February 21, 2012
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Very funny piece about a bunch of students who sit around debating Mao and trying to figure out how to start a revolution. Change Mao for Trotsky and you could be making a film about my youth.
September 5, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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