How Jean-Luc Godard made history when French intellectuals ruled the world





There's a cineaste myth that Jean-Luc Godard's La Chinoise, which opened in New York on April 3, 1968, at the out-of-the-way Kip's Bay Theater, inspired the Columbia students who, three weeks later, began occupying campus buildings.

Godard had recently toured Ameri- can colleges with a print of La Chinoise— initially considered unreleasable—but he never got any closer to New York than SUNY Albany and, if reviews in the sec- tarian press are any indication, student radicals took La Chinoise as more snarky satire than glamorous model for action. (The Battle of Algiers was the real revolutionary film du jour.) Protests at Columbia had been gathering momentum since mid-March and, hardly a movie, it was the April 4 assassination of Martin Luther King that raised the stakes there, as everywhere else.

Still, like its drive-in and Broadway equivalents Wild in the Streets and Hair, which also appeared that April, La Chinoise was an integral part of the '68 juggernaut....


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