Masculine Feminine: Selected Film Criticism - Excerpts part 2
Tom Milne, Sight and Sound, Winter 1966-67
Casual and fragmentary as it may seem, Masculine Feminine is in fact probably Godard's most complex film to date. If Paul's odyssey in search of tenderness takes us through what is virtually a collage of la vie moderne at all levels - Bob Dylan as Vietnik and Negro as Black Muslim, the Pill and the Brassiere, Vietnam and the teenage question - it is also a foray into the age-old Sex War.
Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, September 19, 1966
Jean-Luc Godard, a reigning favorite with the New York Film Festival crowd, probably because he is the doggedest of the old new wave cineists in France, had his first wack at the audience of this year's festival last night ... The question is how much momentum Masculine Feminine may have after its saturation showing to a capacity audience last night. For it is another of those peculiarly vague and elusive Godard films of the sort that he seems to be making at the rate of about two or three a year. It gives a pretense of being a study of the mores of Parisian youth as conducted by a fuzzy-brained young fellow who becomes rather personally involved, especially with a fidgety young woman who seems to lead him to be even more confused than he is at the outset about the attitude of French girls towards sex.
"C" Rating: National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures, October 20, 1966 ["C" rating means Condemned]
Objections: Because this film is an undisciplined and largely unintelligible survey of what its director conceives to be modern youth's confusion, naturalism of style alone, without point of view or content, can neither support nor justify its vulgar and suggestive treatment.
Andrew Sarris, Village Voice, September 29 and October 6, 1966
Godard can criticized as an artist for pacing and structure. After three viewing I know pretty well what is in Masculine Feminine and where it all fits, but I am still hazy about the minute-by-minute sequencing which I find exasperatingly haphazard. Godard is always evoking the entertainer's without exhibiting the entertainer's vulgar instincts for pleasing change-of-pace pitches to his audience. However, the individual fragments, far from being amateurish as some of the director's detractors claim, are about the most dazzling exercises of style on the screen today. On the level of feeling, Godard's mood toward modernity ranges from bitterness to downright disgust, but he never stops the world to get off. From alter ego Belmondo in Breathless to alter ego Leaud in Masculine Feminine, Godard merely tries to slow down the world so that he can get on.