Masculin Féminin

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Masculin Féminin
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Produced by Anatole Dauman
Written by Jean-Luc Godard
Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud
Chantal Goya
Marlène Jobert
Michel Debord
Music by Jean-Jacques Debout
Cinematography Willy Kurant
Edited by Agnès Guillemot
Anouchka Films-Argos Films
Distributed by Columbia Films S.A.
Release date
  • 22 March 1966 (1966-03-22)
Running time
103 minutes
Country France, Sweden
Language French
Box office 427,430 admissions (France)[1]

Masculin Féminin (French: Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis, pronounced [maskylɛ̃ feminɛ̃ kɛ̃z fe pʁesi], "Masculine Feminine: 15 Specific Events") is a 1966 French-Swedish film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It stars Jean-Pierre Léaud, Chantal Goya, Marlène Jobert, Catherine-Isabelle Duport and Michel Debord.[2]

Masculin Féminin is a notable film within Godard's 1960s period of filmmaking, and is considered by critics as representative of 1960s France and Paris.[3] The film contains references to various pop culture icons and political figures around that time, such as Charles de Gaulle and André Malraux to James Bond and Bob Dylan, and follows Godard's non-linear filmmaking techniques and narratives. The main story is, at times, interrupted by various sequences and sub-plots, including a scene paraphrased from LeRoi JonesDutchman. 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.[citation needed]


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, love-making, and politics.[4]



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".[5]

Godard did not have a shooting script and instead relied on a hand written spiral notebook filled with ideas, sketches and dialogue written the night before.[6] Godard was interested in working with singer Chantal Goya because she was neither a film or stage actress and was introduced to her by Daniel Filipacchi on November 7, 1965.[7][8] Shooting began on November 22, 1965. Godard used natural lighting and a minimal crew throughout the production.[9]


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.[10]

Reviews were mixed in both France and in the U.S. Georges Sadoul praised the film's ability to speak to young people,[11] while H. Chapier criticized the film but praised Leaud's performance.[12] Tom Milne called it Godard's "most complex film to date."[13] Pauline Kael said that it was "that rare achievement: a work of grace and beauty in a contemporary setting."[14] Andrew Sarris called it "the film of the season."[15] Judith Crist said that it had "flashes of original wit and contemporary perceptions."[16] Bosley Crowther disliked the film and called it "entertainment of only the most loose and spotty sort."[17] Gene Moskowitz called it "naive and knowing, irratating and engaging."[18]

The film was selected for screening as part of the Cannes Classics section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.[19]


Jean-Pierre Léaud won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 16th Berlin International Film Festival.[20]

At the Berlin Film Festival the film won an award for the year's best film for young people.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. ^ 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 ..."
  3. ^ Desson Thomson (March 25, 2005). "Eternally 'Masculine, Feminine'". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Billard, Pierre. Masculine Feminine: a film by Jean-Luc Godard. New York: Grove Press, Inc.. 1969. SBN 68.22022. pp. 9-184.
  5. ^ Billard. pp. 187.
  6. ^ Billard. pp. 224.
  7. ^ Billard. pp. 229
  8. ^ Billard. pp. 234
  9. ^ Billard. pp. 235.
  10. ^ a b Godard on "Masculine Feminine" Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Billard. pp. 250.
  12. ^ Billard. pp. 255.
  13. ^ Billard. pp. 267.
  14. ^ Billard. pp. 280.
  15. ^ Billard. pp. 275.
  16. ^ Billard. pp. 273.
  17. ^ Billard. pp. 272.
  18. ^ Billard. pp. 270.
  19. ^ "Cannes Classics 2016". Cannes Film Festival. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  20. ^ "Berlinale 1966: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-02-24. 

External links[edit]