A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Paul is young, just demobbed from national service in the French Army, and disillusioned with civilian life. As his girlfriend builds herself a career as a pop singer, Paul becomes more isolated from his friends and peers ('the children of Marx and Coca Cola', as the credits announce) and their social and emotional politics.Written by
That alternate title for Masculin Feminin, The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola, is provided in the middle of the film. It is probably the most famous thing from it. It's actually a good title. Politics and pop culture mix in odd ways in the film, and the characters are uncertain about both of those aspects of their lives.
Truth be told, Masculin Feminin is a lesser work by Jean-Luc Godard. It was made during a difficult period in his life: his relationship with Anna Karina, his wife and favorite actress, star of many of his early films such as Le petit soldat, Une femme est une femme, and especially Vivre sa vie, was falling apart. Therefore, this particular film is very bitter and hopeless. Godard is also unsure of where he's going. The film stars Jean-Pierre Leaud, who is most famous for playing Antoine Doinel in such Truffaut films as The 400 Blows. His girlfriend is played by Chantal Goya, who was a pop star at the time (and she plays an up-and-coming pop singer in the film). The film loses track of its supporting players. They are omnipresent, but when they have scenes without Leaud or Goya, the film gets tedious. Godard doesn't know what he's doing with them. This is especially true of a long scene where Leaud's best friend tries to court Goya's best friend in a kitchen. He asks her many questions, but they are all very trite ones about her sex life. I swear, he asks the same three questions a dozen times each. It gets old fast, and the scene lasts forever. There are several good sequences, but nothing that really equals the best of Jean-Luc Godard. Perhaps its real value is in its editing. Godard's editing is always interesting, and Masculin Feminin shows us his skill with long takes. Also, there are a couple of great tracking shots. 7/10.
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