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La Chinoise

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Paris, 1967. Disillusioned by their suburban lifestyles, a group of middle-class students, led by Guillaume (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Veronique (Anne Wiazemsky), form a small Maoist cell and plan to change the world by any means necessary. After studying Maoist cell and plan to change the world by any means necessary. After studying the growth of communism in China, the students decide that they must use terrorism and violence to ignite their own revolution.

DVD Extras:
Godard editing table interview, Venice Film Festival press conference footage, Interview with Anne Wiazemsky,
Introduction by Colin MacCabe (author of Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy), Original Theatrical Trailer


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Restored, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: KOCH Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013D8LY0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,207 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Chinoise" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steiner VINE VOICE on July 8, 2008
Format: DVD
Godard's misunderstood film about a cell of Maoist students in 1967 France is not so much an endorsement of revolutionary politics as it is an exploration of it. Although the film clearly contributed to the revolt at Columbia uprising, and later the student May uprising of 1968, this is in fact a highly nuanced account of the variegated tendencies of radicalization among the French youth. We encounter an outdated renunciation of Marxism-Leninism, which sadly converted large swaths of radicalizing youths to Mao in the 1960's, and still has some resonance on the left today. This is a delightful mixture of politics and pop culture as only Godard can provide, that is, with passion and form.
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Format: DVD
Some of Godards films are consistently entertaining (Breathless, My Life to Live, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville, Weekend, Pierrot Le Fou) while others are less so.

La Chinoise (1967) is smart as all of Godard's works are, but only mildly entertaining. Its content, style of critique, & entertainment value put it on par with Godard's other (and later) meditation on the intersection of pop culture & revolutionary politics, Sympathy for the Devil (1968). Both films deal with revolutionary politics & pop culture & how even radical cells reproduce the dominant culture's patriarchal paradigms.

La Chinoise is the story of a group of middle-class revolutionaries. The leader of this revolutionary troupe is played by a gentrified Jean-Pierre Leaud who, despite his many bourgeois trappings, nonetheless spends every waking hour reading from one revolutionary text or another. While it might be impossible to say exactly how much of this revolutionary talk had gotten to Godard, it is clear (at least at this point in his career) that he can still see both the comic and tragic irony of trying to be both revolutionary & bourgeoisie at the same time. Leaud is not as interesting nor as exciting to watch as Belmondo, but Godard has a lot of fun with this character who is so saturated with revolutionary theory that he is thrilled when one of his comrades gets beaten up by a rival faction because this is proof to him that all of his theorizing and political posturing has some connection to and effect upon reality. Eventually, to underscore Leauds bourgeois narcissism, Godard has him go on a tirade against mere actors while dressed as Napoleon.
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Format: Blu-ray
In 1966, Jean-Luc Godard made the acquaintance of some young members of the French Left who felt a strong pull towards Maoism. By looking to China, they sought to escape the traditional division of the French Left into supporters of the Soviet Union, which had lost its revolutionary fervour, and Trotskyist parties, which were impotent. (Of course, at the time the West was still generally unaware of the horrific toll of Mao's policies.) Godard, whose sociological curiosity and political engagement was strong in these years, decided to study this phenomenon, and the result is LA CHINOISE. While Godard would eventually go on to make a few films that were so didactically political that one felt bludgeoned by the message and watching was no fun, this one surprised me in how entertainingly its plot played out and how astute its observations were.

In a Parisian flat borrowed for the summer while one member's parents are away, a group of young radicals lodge together and fancy themselves a revolutionary cell. Chief among them are Guillaume (Jean-Pierre Léaud), Véronique (Anne Wiazemsky) and Yvonne (Juliet Berto). They read daily from Mao, decrying the Soviet Union and French society, and practicing their demagoguery for their occasional attempts to bring their message into the streets. Gradually, they come to decide that terrorism is necessary to achieve their goals, and they gang up on the sole dissenter from violence and kick him out of the flat. Francis Jeanson, a French academic and opponent of the war in Algeria, as well as Wiazemsky's actual thesis adviser, appears as himself in a scene where he attempts to dissuade Véronique from violence, asking just how much support from the oppressed masses does this sheltered girl think she has.
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Format: DVD
This is a great film with wonderful political overtones. If you would like to see it for around 25$, get the German copy. The only drawback besides PAL is that it is dubbed into German!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great movie. Decent,not exceptional transfer. Nice extras. However, where is the end title to the film that Richard Brody mention in his new Godard biography. After the shutters are closed their should be an end title that reads "The End Of A Beginning." It has gone missing. This is why Koch Lorber is not Criterion. Can any of you Godard experts out there help with this? Thanks.
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