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film

La Chinoise, Carabiniers, and Belle de Jour

LA CHINOISE CONCERNS A SUMMER shared by 4 to 7 youths intoxicated with Maoist communism: a humorlessly vague, declamatory crew made up of Jean Pierre Leaud (taut, overtrained exhibitionistic), Anne Wiazemsky (girl intellectual with a year of prostitution behind her) and a sensitive tapeworm with steel rims, always dunking his bread and butter in coffee. Reclusive, never penetrating or being penetrated by the outside world, they study, debate, never seem to converse but try to out-fervor one another, while the camera images suggest a scissoring motion, shuttling back and forth, giving equal billing to the doors and shutters, rough-brushed with red-blue-yellow, and large blackboards covered with measured handwriting.

What has to be made clear is that this is an infuriating but cagy film. Why? There is such a wide swath of rhetoric, dogmatic rights and wrongs, employed or deployed through

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