Masculin Féminin (French: Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis, pronounced [maskylɛ̃ feminɛ̃ kɛ̃z fe pʁesi], "Masculine Feminine: 15 Specific Events") is a 1966 French New Wave romantic drama film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The film, an international co-production between France and Sweden, stars Jean-Pierre Léaud, Chantal Goya, Marlène Jobert, Catherine-Isabelle Duport, and Michel Debord.
|Directed by||Jean-Luc Godard|
|Produced by||Anatole Dauman|
|Written by||Jean-Luc Godard|
|Music by||Jean-Jacques Debout|
|Edited by||Agnès Guillemot|
Anouchka Films-Argos Films
|Distributed by||Columbia Films S.A.|
|Box office||427,430 admissions (France)|
Masculin Féminin is a notable film within Godard's 1960s period of filmmaking, and is considered by some critics to be representative of 1960s France and Paris. The film contains references to various pop culture icons and political figures of the time, such as Charles de Gaulle, André Malraux, James Bond, and Bob Dylan, and follows Godard's non-linear filmmaking techniques and narratives. At times the main story is interrupted by various sequences and sub-plots, including a scene paraphrased from LeRoi Jones’ Dutchman. Arguably the most famous quotation from the film is "This film could be called The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola", which is actually an intertitle between chapters.
The film stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as Paul, a romantic young idealist and literary lion-wannabe who chases budding pop star Madeleine (Chantal Goya, a real life Yé-yé girl). Despite markedly different musical tastes and political leanings, the two soon become romantically involved and begin a ménage à quatre with Madeleine's two roommates, Catherine (Catherine-Isabelle Duport) and Elisabeth (Marlène Jobert). The camera probes the young actors in a series of vérité-style interviews about love, lovemaking, and politics.
- Jean-Pierre Léaud as Paul, a young idealist
- Chantal Goya as Madeleine Zimmer, a young singer
- Marlène Jobert as Elisabeth Choquet, Madeleine's roommate
- Michel Debord as Robert Packard, a journalist
- Catherine-Isabelle Duport as Catherine-Isabelle
- Brigitte Bardot as herself (cameo)
- Antoine Bourseiller as himself (cameo)
- Françoise Hardy as the wife of the American officer (cameo)
In 1965, Anatole Dauman, the head of Argos Films, wanted to re-edit and re-release Alexandre Astruc's 1952 44-minute film The Crimson Curtain. He decided that he also wanted another medium-length film to accompany Astruc's film and offered the project to Godard, suggesting that Godard adapt Guy de Maupassant's short story The Signal. Godard had been interested in filming The Signal for several years and agreed to the project. Eventually Dauman suggested that Godard also adapt Maupassant's short story Paul's Mistress and secured the rights to both short stories. When filming began, Godard discarded both Maupassant short stories and Maupassant's publishers later agreed that the film was in no way an adaptation of the author's work. The only parts of either short stories that appear in the film is the fact that the main characters name is Paul and the "film within the film" that the main characters go to see at a movie theater was initially inspired by "The Signal".
Godard did not have a shooting script; instead he relied on a spiral notebook filled with ideas, sketches, and dialogue he had handwritten the previous evening.  Godard was interested in working with singer Chantal Goya because she was neither a film nor stage actress when she was introduced to him by Daniel Filipacchi on November 7, 1965. Shooting began on November 22, 1965. Godard used natural lighting and a minimal crew throughout the production.
Due to the portrayal of youth and sex, the film was prohibited to persons under 18 in France—"the very audience it was meant for," griped Godard.
Reviews were mixed in both France and in the U.S. Georges Sadoul praised the film's ability to speak to young people, while H. Chapier criticized the film but praised Leaud's performance. Tom Milne called it Godard's "most complex film to date." Pauline Kael said that it was "that rare achievement: a work of grace and beauty in a contemporary setting." Andrew Sarris called it "the film of the season." Judith Crist said that it had "flashes of original wit and contemporary perceptions." Bosley Crowther disliked the film and called it "entertainment of only the most loose and spotty sort." Gene Moskowitz called it "naive and knowing, irratating and engaging."
- Box office information for film at Box Office Story
- "Masculin féminin (1966)". Criterion.com. The Criterion Collection. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Oliver Lunn (20 February 2019). "Love and longing through the lens of the French New Wave". BFI.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
- Deborah Cartmell - A Companion to Literature, Film and Adaptation 2012 "Avantgarde filmmaker JeanLuc Godard uses leaders in films like Masculin Féminin: 15 Faits Précis (1966) and Le ..."
- Desson Thomson (25 March 2005). "Eternally 'Masculine, Feminine'". The Washington Post.
- Martin, Adrian (20 September 2005). "Masculin féminin: The Young Man for All Times". Criterion.com. The Criterion Collection.
- Billard, Pierre. Masculine Feminine: a film by Jean-Luc Godard. New York: Grove Press, Inc.. 1969. SBN 68.22022. pp. 9-184.
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- Godard on "Masculine Feminine" Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine
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- "Cannes Classics 2016". Cannes Film Festival. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- "Berlinale 1966: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 24 February 2010.