LA CHINOISE (Jean-Luc Godard). 97 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (November 16) at Cinematheque Ontario. Rating: NNNN
Like many filmmakers in the late 60s, Jean-Luc Godard was fascinated by the "revolutionary" youth of the day. But unlike the others, he didn't trust them or their political commitment.
La Chinoise is the story of a youth collective trying to follow the lessons of the Cultural Revolution in their own lives. They don't see the irony inherent in the fact that their group is based in the vast bourgeois apartment of one of their parents.
Its wardrobe and set design in bright primary colours make La Chinoise looks like Maoist poster art. It also has an almost documentary poetry in its observational/interview style, though the presence of Jean-Pierre Léaud in the collective tells us we're looking at actors.
The young Juliet Berto is very striking and gives a better performance than Anne Wiazemsky , Godard's then wife, who shows a perfect blank determination as the cell's leader, particularly in the long train scene where she tries futilely to argue her position with leftist philosopher Francis Jeanson .