(aka "La Chinoise, ou plutôt à la chinoise: Un film en train de se faire" or "Kinesiskan")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/godard.htm

France 1967

Perhaps Godard's most political film, "La Chinoise" is also Godard at his most primitive in terms of filmmaking and his most extreme in terms of mise-en-scene. On one side Godard openly displays his views on America and their imperialism by a very aggressive and beautiful mise-en-scene, but on the other side his approach towards Maoism and Communism borders the naïve, here voiced thru the students and their discussions, as it portraits a group of young students of Sorbonne, who spend their summer vacation discussing ideology and end it all with assassinating a Russian cultural attaché, before returning to school. It is thus interesting, that Godard not only composes a sequence, where Francis Jeanson talks about radicalism while riding in a train, but also ends the narrative with the heroine saying,

"When the summer was over, for me and many of my comrades, the classes began again and so the fight. But on the other hand, I deceived myself. I believed that I made a big progress, but I realized, and had to admit, that it was only the first small step toward a very long march."

both removing himself from the films ideology, and noting towards his future films and ideology.

Today “La Chinoise” is difficult to approach, mainly because its so primitive and extreme, and as such appears very aged, but also because Godard attacks any narrative structure (the film has neither beginning nor end) and instead creates a symbolic and dialectic structure, but also because it feels like a relic of its time. As a film, its more related to “2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle” than his next film, “Week-End”.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 30, 1967

Reviews     More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

Optimum - Region 2 - PAL vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the PAL captures!

(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Koch/Lorber

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:32:13 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:03
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.60 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.87 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate :

PAL

Bitrate:

NTSC

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital French 2.0 Dolby Digital French
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Colin McCabe (7:35)
• Godard Trailer show

DVD Release Date: May 16, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Colin McCabe (7:35)

• Godard Editing table Interview (French with Eng subs) - 2:41

• Venice Film Festival Press (French with Eng subs) Conference - 1:58
• Interview with Anne Wiazemsky (French with Eng subs) - 7:19

• La Gai Savour trailer - 2:12

DVD Release Date: May 13th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 14

 

Comments NOTE: Koch Lorber's response about the issue of the missing intertitle in La chinoise...
"We have in fact had several inquiries about this missing title card at the every end of the film. While it evidently was included in the original theatrical of La Chinoise, no master since has included it. Evidently the controlling estate removed it from all subsequent master materials and we believe this was a creative choice not in our control." (Thanks kindly to Ronald for sending us this!)

ADDITION: Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - May 08': The Koch / Lorber DVD is single-layered and interlaced (see combing sample below). It also appears to be missing the final intertitle (see Peter's comments below). So where the PAL Optimum eclipses in image quality (colors too seem more vibrant), the Koch Lorber has some decent extra features. Both have optional English subtitles although the Koch are gaudy yellow.

 

Both disc share the same 7.5 minute introduction by Colin McCabe, but the Koch/Lorber has more. There is a short (less than 3 minute) Godard Editing Table Interview (in French with Eng subs - as are all the rest of the Koch supplements). An even shorter Venice Film Festival Press Conference and finally a 7 minute interview with lead actress Anne Wiazemsky, who was also married to Godard for 12 years.

For die-hard fans of Godard the inclusion of the shortish supplements may be incentive enough to get the Koch (or even double dip), but the Optimum has the superior image if you are viewing on anything higher than a CRT. 

 - Gary Tooze

***

NOTE: FROM PETER HENNE: "You may want to alert readers of dvdbeaver.com that Optimum's DVD of Godard's "La Chinoise," already reviewed on your website, is missing an intertitle at the very end. After the final shot, there should be an intertitle which reads in capital letters FIN D'UN COMMENCEMENT. Translated that is "End of a beginning." It's simply not there on the DVD! I've checked three times.

For confirmation of this intertitle and where it occurs in the film, you may wish to consult James Roy MacBean, "Film and Revolution," Indiana University Press, 1975, p. 27, also James Monaco, "The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette," Oxford University Press, 1976, p. 196. Both authors explicitly cite this intertitle as the closure to the film. Obviously, the film has different meanings without it, not to mention altering the context for the two features directed by Godard immediately following, "Weekend" and "Le Gai Savoir," which also close on intertitles. The DVD of "La Chinoise" is otherwise good but this absence is puzzling. You can hear the closing music over a blank, black screen, during the time that the intertitle should appear. The absence thus seems more like a removal--if the final seconds of the source print were simply lost, how could you still have the soundtrack?

 


When I saw the film projected in 1988, at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, this intertitle was present.
" (Thanks Peter!)

***

The image is to begin with grainy, but it also displays compression artifacts like edge enhancements, colour banding and grouping of pixels.

Sadly only a brief introduction to the film by Colin McCabe, author of "Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at 70" is as extra. This is perhaps Godard's most political film from his first period, thus an audio commentary or a lengthy discussion of the film should have been added.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 



DVD Menus

(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT)
 

 
 
 

 

 


Screen Captures

 

Combing Sample from Koch/Lorber

 


 

Subtitle sample (English only)
PAL Captures in 768 px native resolution
/ NTSC in 720

(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


  (Optimum - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Koch/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

Optimum

Sound:

-

Extras:

Koch/Lorber

Menu:

-

 

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Koch/Lorber

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




 

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