Masculine Feminine: The Text - part 2
Having read the script I want to comment on the political content of this film. There is nothing deep, or profound about the politics within Masculine Feminine. In a way this is common problem throughout the films of Jean-Luc Godard. He presents political ideas, but often he doesn't flesh them out, or provide the proper context so that the viewer can asses the viewpoints on display. In Masculine Feminine we are given some information about the political ideologies of the two male protagonists. Both Paul & Robert are shown to have marxist leanings. At the very least they are avowed socialists. But there appears to be no particular purpose to their politics. They can spit party doctrine, however there is no scene in the film were they put these ideas into practice. Paul's spray painting of an American officials car in protest over the Vietnam War could be seen as a bold political statement, but this isn't an act that can be associated with any one particular cause. It more indicative of anti-Americanism than leftist politics.
As a side - the protest of American aggression in Vietnam by the French Left is of curiosity to me. I wish that I had looked into this more closely. It is a wonder that such strong protest against America could occur when just a few years earlier the French themselves were fighting a colonial war in Vietnam. It troubles me that so many seemed to ignore the French role in creating the Vietnam quagmire. It seems silly to me to criticise America, but ignore the French roots of the conflict. I'm sure that this characterization doesn't fit the entire French Left - please excuse my ignorance of the activities of the whole movement.
Back to the film - Paul & Robert are largely leftists in name only. Associating with the left provides them with an identity at a time when leftist ideas were gaining ground in youth culture. This association was as much social as it was political. Godard makes this point clear by situating most of the films leftist political debate around the males attempts to chat-up women.
The portrayal of the female protagonists in this film is of interest when you compare it to the treatment of the males. As Crow-50 mentions in his/her review the women are all apolitical and fairly materialistic. It's possible that Godard was trying to present the differences between the genders in a political context. But I would disagree with the thought that the portrayal of the women in Masculine Feminine was sexist. The men despite their leftist rhetoric essential lived the same sort of bourgeois lives as the women. The women were more honest about their attachment with the materialism of the greater society, while the men were in complete denial.