My Jean-Luc Godard education continues with Masculin, Féminin, his 1966 portrait of the youth culture in Paris in the months leading up to the 1965 presidential election. It's a flurry of different visual and aural ideas cut together and framed in a off-kilter documentary style whose purpose isn't anything like a straight narrative, but rather an empathetic if distanced view of the lives of the young men and women Godard found himself surrounded by in Paris.
It's strange, but until watching Band of Outsiders my only exposure to Jean-Luc Godard was Breathless almost eight months earlier. Kind of a long wait between films, especially after the wonderful taste Breathless left in my mouth, but that wait may have made my feelings toward Band of Outsiders a little sweeter than they would have been otherwise.
Breathless may not have been the movie to "officially" kick off the French New Wave, but after its release there was little doubt it would be the standard bearer for the movement. Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard based off a treatment by Francois Truffaut, Breathless leaps off the screen and tears into its story with a youthful exuberance that embraces its roots in American genre films while gleefully tearing apart the staid tenets of how those films are structured.
The movie opens. A man stands in the foreground, his back to the camera. We don't know him yet, but the camera tells us everything. The mountains in the background are positively diminutive, telling us this man is larger than life, and over the course of the next two hours he's going to prove that perception correct...