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Film / Masculin Féminin

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Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis is a 1966 film by Jean-Luc Godard.

It is his rather free-form rumination on the contemporary youth of 1966, featuring numerous monologues where characters express their thoughts on what it is to be young. Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as a young man of 21 who has just completed his 18 months of compulsory service in the French army. He is spending time with Madeline, a fashion model who is branching out into pop music and has a single on the verge of release. Eventually they start a relationship, one which eventually includes Madeline's roommates Catherine and Elisabeth. All of the above is really just a framework on which to hang Godard's thoughts on youth and desire.


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Tropes:

  • As Himself: Brigitte Bardot and Francoise Hardy appear as themselves.
  • Aside Glance: Paul glances at the camera repeatedly in a scene where he leaves a cafe and heads to the Metro station.
  • Character Filibuster: Omnipresent trope here. All young characters report on their relations with the opposite sex as well as their political views. They deliver some pretty lengthy monologues.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The film ends with Paul falling off a balcony on a high rise to his death, by accident—and it isn't shown, only described to the police afterwards.
  • The End: At one point Paul says that there aren't any smaller words that there aren't any smaller words that one can make out of "FEMININ". At the end, the word "FEMININ" comes onscreen, the gunshot sound that Godard uses for scene transitions rings out, and the only letters remaining are "F__IN__". That is, "FIN".
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  • Erotic Film: In-Universe, Paul and the girls go to see one. Madeline's roommates don't care for it but Madeline does. The Film Within A Film includes some overtly suggested (but not actually shown) fellatio, which even in France was pretty daring for 1965.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: A scene where Paul and Madeline go into a cafe to talk about their relationship, only to be interrupted by a couple of dudes reading out loud from a pornographic magazine, runs three minutes without a cut.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Some of the title cards that Godard puts up between scenes.
    "The mole has no consciousness, yet it burrows in a specific direction."
  • The Movie Buff: Paul is enough of a film buff that when he's watching a movie and realizes it's in the wrong Aspect Ratio, he charges into the projection booth to yell at the projectionist.
  • Mythology Gag: Paul keeps trying to flip a cigarette into his mouth the way Jean-Paul Belmondo did in another Godard film, Breathless. He can't quite get the hang of it.
  • The Oner: A very uncomfortable scene has Paul, offscreen, interviewing an extremely pretty but vapid young woman. Over the course of the conversation he fires questions at her both personal (asking her about birth control) and political (asking her to name all the places in the world where there are wars going on). It runs six minutes and the camera never moves.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Also happens a lot.
  • Shout-Out: To Godard's previous film. When Paul says he's gotten a car, Madeline says "You're not Pierrot le Fou! He steals cars for his woman!".
  • Speech-Centric Work: Lots and lots of talking.
  • Untranslated Title: It remains Masculin Féminin in the English.
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