powered by AFI
Following his discharge from the army, a young French Marxist named Paul becomes an interrogator for a public opinion poll concerned primarily with the attitudes and opinions of the country's youth. After casually watching a woman murder her husband on a Paris street, Paul strikes up an acquaintance with a singer, Madeleine, who openly admits to using sex to further her career. He moves in with her and her two roommates, Elisabeth and Catherine, and becomes involved in the web of their relationship. Paul joins their get-togethers at coffee shops, discotheques, cafés, and the cinema, where they see a Swedish erotic film [made by Godard]. Their conversations include discussions of birth control, James Bond, military and civil authority, sexual perversion, and Communism versus democracy. One day he watches a demonstration against U. S. involvement in Vietnam in which President Johnson is compared to Hitler and a young radical burns himself to death screaming "Give us TV and cars but spare us liberty." Paul is still undecided about his future when his mother dies and leaves him a considerable amount of money, which he uses to buy a small, unfinished building. One day, while inspecting it, he falls--or perhaps jumps--to his death, leaving behind a pregnant Madeleine.