Joscelin Smitherman

Written by Joscelin Smitherman

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Released in 1967, “La Chinoise” is a French political film directed by the renowned filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Set against the backdrop of the turbulent political climate during the late 1960s, the movie explores themes of radicalism, revolution, and the allure of Maoism.
With its title translating to “The Chinese” in English, “La Chinoise” follows the lives of a group of young students who form a revolutionary cell in an attempt to ignite a cultural revolution in France. The film not only serves as a critique of revolutionary ideology but also reflects the social and political unrest of the time.
In this article, we will delve into 34 fascinating facts about “La Chinoise” that shed light on its making, impact, and legacy. From its unique production techniques to its controversial reception, we’ll explore the various aspects that make this movie a significant entry in the world of cinema.

Key Takeaways:

  • La Chinoise” is a 1967 French film that delves into radical politics and revolution, using experimental techniques and Marxist dialogue to challenge traditional storytelling.
  • The movie’s thought-provoking themes, bold stylistic choices, and enduring relevance make it a must-watch for fans of politically charged films and those interested in the power of cinema to ignite discussion.
Table of Contents

La Chinoise is a French political drama film released in 1967.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this film explores the radical ideologies and political activism of the late 1960s.

The movie revolves around a group of young Parisian students who are members of a Maoist political organization.

They live together in a flat, discussing Marxist philosophy and plotting acts of revolution.

La Chinoise is known for its experimental and innovative filmmaking techniques.

Godard employs jump cuts, unconventional camera angles, and non-linear storytelling to create a unique cinematic experience.

The film features a mix of professional actors and non-actors.

Godard deliberately blurs the line between reality and fiction, adding to the documentary-like feel of the movie.

La Chinoise was inspired by the real-life events of May 1968 in France.

During this period, there were widespread protests and demonstrations by students and workers, fueling the radical political atmosphere portrayed in the film.

The title “La Chinoise” translates to “The Chinese” in English.

This refers to the protagonists’ admiration for Chinese communist ideology and their aspiration to bring about a similar revolution in France.

The film’s dialogue is heavily influenced by Marxist theory and political rhetoric.

The characters engage in passionate discussions about class struggle, revolution, and the role of intellectuals in society.

La Chinoise was released during a time when political activism was on the rise.

The film resonated with the youth of the era who were questioning traditional societal structures and seeking radical change.

The movie is shot primarily in black and white, with occasional color sequences.

This contrast highlights the dynamic between the characters’ idealistic aspirations and the harsh reality of their actions.

La Chinoise received mixed reviews upon its release.

While some praised its bold and thought-provoking approach, others criticized its heavy-handed political messaging.

The film’s soundtrack features music by French composer Pierre Jansen.

Jansen’s score adds to the tension and atmosphere of the movie, enhancing its emotional impact.

La Chinoise was part of the French New Wave movement.

The movement was characterized by its rejection of traditional filmmaking conventions and its emphasis on personal expression.

The film’s cast includes Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto, and Michel Semeniako.

These actors deliver powerful performances, capturing the passion and idealism of their characters.

La Chinoise serves as both a critique and a celebration of radical politics.

Godard presents the complexities of revolutionary ideologies, questioning their effectiveness while acknowledging their appeal.

The cinematography in La Chinoise is highly stylized.

Godard employs wide-angle shots, close-ups, and long takes to create visually striking scenes that enhance the film’s narrative.

The movie’s dialogue often features philosophical musings and intellectual debates.

Godard uses these discussions to explore the intersection of politics, ideology, and personal relationships.

La Chinoise was part of a larger trend of politically charged films during the 1960s.

It reflected the growing disillusionment with established institutions and the desire for radical change.

The film’s production budget was relatively low compared to mainstream movies of the time.

This allowed Godard more creative freedom and the ability to experiment with unconventional storytelling techniques.

La Chinoise received renewed critical attention in the decades following its release.

It is now considered a significant work in French cinema and a reflection of the political climate of the late 1960s.

The movie’s runtime is approximately 95 minutes.

This concise duration adds to the film’s intensity and keeps the audience engaged throughout.

La Chinoise was banned in several countries due to its controversial subject matter.

The film’s provocative portrayal of radical politics and revolutionary acts sparked concerns about its potential influence on viewers.

The editing in La Chinoise is often abrupt and disorienting.

This technique is used to challenge traditional narrative structures and to create a sense of urgency and chaos.

The movie’s sets and costumes are minimalist in design.

This simplicity allows the characters’ words and actions to take center stage, emphasizing their ideological beliefs.

La Chinoise has been praised for its intellectual depth and thought-provoking themes.

It encourages viewers to question established norms and to critically examine the institutions that shape society.

The film’s ending leaves the fate of the characters uncertain.

This open-ended conclusion invites audience interpretation and reflection.

La Chinoise was screened at several prestigious film festivals, including the Venice Film Festival.

Its inclusion in these events further solidified its status as an important work in cinematic history.

The movie’s script was written by Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin.

The collaboration between these two filmmakers resulted in a powerful and thought-provoking screenplay.

La Chinoise explores the relationship between ideology and action.

It poses questions about the effectiveness of revolutionary ideals and raises doubts about the potential consequences of radical activism.

The film’s bold stylistic choices have influenced generations of filmmakers.

Its experimental techniques have inspired directors to push the boundaries of traditional storytelling and to challenge societal norms.

La Chinoise was shot on a tight schedule, with only a few weeks of production.

This constrained timeframe added to the intensity and immediacy of the film’s atmosphere.

The movie’s themes of political disillusionment and radicalism remain relevant today.

Its exploration of the tensions between ideology, action, and personal relationships continues to resonate with audiences.

La Chinoise was both a critical and commercial success upon its release.

It cemented Jean-Luc Godard’s reputation as a trailblazing filmmaker and solidified his place in the annals of French cinema.

The film’s production design reflects the characters’ minimalistic lifestyle.

The sparse and austere environments they inhabit mirror their ideological commitment to simplicity and revolution.

La Chinoise is a testament to the power of cinema to provoke thought and ignite discussion.

Its enduring relevance and impact make it a must-watch for cinephiles and fans of politically charged films.


In conclusion, La Chinoise is a groundbreaking film that offers a unique blend of political commentary, artistic expression, and thought-provoking storytelling. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this French New Wave masterpiece delves into the complexities of radicalism and idealism during a turbulent period in history.With its captivating cinematography, stellar performances, and thought-provoking themes, La Chinoise continues to resonate with audiences today. Its exploration of political ideologies, revolutionary movements, and the consequences of radicalization makes it a must-watch for film enthusiasts and those interested in exploring the sociopolitical landscape of the 1960s.Whether you’re a fan of French New Wave cinema, a history buff, or simply appreciate thought-provoking films, La Chinoise offers a captivating viewing experience that will leave you thinking long after the credits roll.


1. What is the significance of the title “La Chinoise”?

The title “La Chinoise” refers to the Chinese Communist Movement and its influence on radical political ideologies. It reflects the film’s exploration of left-wing revolutionary ideas and the impacts of ideological conversations happening during that era.

2. Is La Chinoise based on a true story?

No, La Chinoise is a fictional film. However, its narrative is inspired by real-life events and political movements that were occurring in France during the 1960s.

3. What is the main message of La Chinoise?

La Chinoise raises questions about the nature of revolution, the flaws and contradictions within radical ideologies, and the potential consequences of extreme beliefs. It invites viewers to critically examine political systems and the ethical implications of revolutionary acts.

4. Who directed La Chinoise?

La Chinoise was directed by Jean-Luc Godard, a renowned filmmaker and one of the most influential figures in French New Wave cinema.

5. What is French New Wave cinema?

French New Wave cinema was a movement that emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s. It brought a fresh and innovative approach to filmmaking, characterized by unconventional narratives, jump cuts, natural lighting, and a focus on exploring new cinematic techniques.

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