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La Chinoise - art house and international DVD / foreign language review
LA CHINOISE Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto, Michel Semeniako
Director: Jean-Luc Godard   Studio: Koch Lorber
DVD release: 13 May 2008   Runtime: 93 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Restored, Subtitled, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio Tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - French), Subtitles (English), Never-before-released vintage footage, Godard editing table interview, Venice Film Festival press conference footage, Interview with Anne Wiazemsky, Intro by Colin MacCabe (author of Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy)

Several students are sharing a flat for the summer break and studying Maoism in a serious way. Maoist philosophy is tossed about in serious discussions and in humorless diatribes; it's written on the walls. These cats are crazy about Mao Zedong. They recite their deadpan monologues into the camera, use visual aids sparingly as needed. The leader of the group seems to be Guillaume (Jean-Pierre Léaud). He drills the others about their dogma as a brutal college professor might. Veronique (Anne Wiazemsky), Guillaume's girlfriend, seems to be second-in-command, eventually surpassing Guillaume in dedication to the cause. Yvonne (Juliet Berto) is a one-time prostitute who still turns the occasional trick for the cause.

It becomes clear after a time that this apartment painted with Maoist truths and strewn with little red books belongs to someone's parents. These young Parisians have had much handed to them, and they seem naive in their quest for Marxist-Leninist perfection.

La Chinoise was released in 1967, shortly before student revolutions in France helped to usher in a new, more liberal government. Was it prophetic? Was it a part of the revolution? Who can say? It serves now as a slice of the ideology present in late-1960's Paris. A peek into history well worth checking out.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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