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Jean-Pierre Léaud: The New Wave and After

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
6:30 p.m. La Chinoise
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1967)

New Print

In an apartment painted brilliant shades of red and blue, five young people—including Véronique (Anne Wiazemsky), a philosophy student, and the actor Guillaume (an ardent Léaud)—attempt to live according to the precepts of Chairman Mao, their shortwave tuned to Radio Peking. In an assemblage of skits that bridges Pop and agitprop, Godard portrays the progress of these “petit Maoists” from playing at revolution to making it. It remained for the events of May 1968 to prove La Chinoise prophetic, and the film’s fascination only grows in retrospect. J. Hoberman wrote recently in the Village Voice, “Not just a period film, La Chinoise, blazing in all its glory (in this new print), is a chunk of the period. . . . Anyone wishing to ponder the origins and fate of the European New Left, as well as the development of political terrorism, should . . . catch La Chinoise.”

• Written by Godard. Photographed by Raoul Coutard. With Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto, Michel Semeniako. (99 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Koch Lorber)