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  • "Week End" is a film by the French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Many think Godard is a genius and his films invariably have high ratings. I've seen quite a few of his films and, with a few exceptions, I keep thinking of the kid in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes" who shouts out 'The Emperor is naked!'. In other words, so many of Godard's films are unwatchable and pretentious....and the artsy folks go on and on at length about the genius of his work, while the average non-crazy viewer is confused and wonders why anyone would make such terrible stuff in the first place!

    Before you assume I am an uncultured boob, then try to explain why in his sci-fi masterpiece "Alphaville", the world is run by a sentient space heater. Or why in "Pierre le Fou" Jean-Paul Belmondo paints his head blue, wraps dynamite around it and blows himself up!! This ain't normal or enjoyable stuff here!

    In "Week End" all sorts of absurdist stuff happens which involve a completely self-absorbed couple. These folks race their car along the road paying no heed to the MANY accidents with blood-strewn bodies all over the pavement, some folks pull out guns and start shooting them off like they are in a Keystone Kops film, as well as a hitchhiker/kidnapper who declares that he is God and performs some miracles, and many more bizarro things. I am pretty sure that Godard is trying to say how banal and pointless life is in western world and how bereft of value the middle class is...but why does this have to be done in such a nonsensical manner?! The film is about as enjoyable to watch as film footage of a slaughterhouse or a toilet. Confusing artsy stuff intended for the select few....of which, I am not one.
  • Week End (1967)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    A husband (Jean Yanne) and wife (Mireille Darc), both having affairs and wanting the other dead, take a weekend trip to her dying father's house so that they can make sure they are in his will. Along the way they get in major traffic jams, get kidnapped by Jesus, run into various weirdos including a cannibal group and other strangeness. As with Godard's A Woman is a Woman, this film starts off great but quickly hits a wall and really left me cold for the final half hour or so. While I was watching the second half of the film I began to get bored very quickly and I started thinking why this was the case with the director. I'm not sure I came up with any positive answers but Godard kind of reminds me of sitting in the dark and having someone come up from behind you and scaring you. It's a great joke but he keeps on doing it to the point where it becomes tiresome and annoying. That's the feeling I got from watching this film because I loved and respected so much of it but after a while it just started to annoy me. The sequence where everything went wrong was the concert footage, which I thought just killed the mood and feel dead in its tracks. This was followed by an overly dramatic talk about blacks in America, which was then followed by a painfully long sequence dealing with the cannibals or whatever you want to call them. By the time the film ending I was rather frustrated but I guess this is just Godard being Godard. What I did enjoy about the film was the surreal and strange nature that everything is set up. There's a brilliantly done tracking shot, which goes on and on but never gets boring and in reality the sequence is quite beautiful. Godard, trying to be annoying on purpose, has everyone honking their horns for the entire scene and it really did come off funny as did all of the strange positions that the cars were in. Another great sequence happens early on when the wife talks about being seduced by another woman and her husband. This is a pretty erotic scene that's able to do more with dialogue than a lot of films do with actually showing the sexual acts. I like the way Godard demands that the viewer put themselves into the various situations but I think he, once again, goes overboard in his thoughts and ideas of the world.
  • A supposedly idyllic week-end trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams, revolution, cannibalism and murder as French bourgeois society starts to collapse under the weight of its own consumer preoccupations.

    Following World War II, the French grew increasingly supportive of communism. Maybe not as a whole, but the intellectuals (such as Sartre) embraced it, and it seems a natural reaction following the Nazi occupation of the 1940s. Rejecting the extreme right does tend to push ideology to the left.

    Here we have a surreal satire on the class struggle in France in the 1960s. One of the most radical countries during one of the most radical decades. Many have compared this to Luis Bunuel's "Discreet Charm" and with good reason. They can both be seen as the artistic expression of the disdain for the upper class. I dare say this is the better film, even if probably the lesser-known.
  • jboothmillard21 August 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    From director Jean-Luc Godard (À Bout De Soufflé (Breathless), Alphaville, Pierrot Le Fou), this French film from the book of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die was rated the full five out of five stars by critics, so I hoped it would deserve that when I watched it. Basically French middle class married couple the Durands, Corinne (Mireille Darc) and Roland (Jean Yanne) seem to be on an idyllic weekend trip, but in fact each have a secret lover, and each is planning to murder the other, but until then they are on a road trip heading for Corinne's parents' house in the country to secure her inheritance from her dying father, they are prepared to murder him if necessary. The journey is riddled with nightmare occurrences as they travel through the French countryside, including meeting various bizarre characters, a never ending traffic jam caused by a violent road accident, their own car is destroyed, there is a revolution going on, they kill a few people that get in their way, and generally it feels that consumer preoccupations are causing the French bourgeois society is collapsing around them. Eventually though Corrine and Roland arrive at her parents' house, only to find the father has died and the mother is refusing to share any inheritance, so they kill her and go back on the road, only to be taken by a group of hippie revolutionaries, who fend for themselves stealing, and with cannibalism, in their camp is where the film ends. The two leads are pretty much responsible for carrying the film, there are no other supporting characters that stay on screen for long but certainly make enough of a impression, I admit I found it a little hard to follow in places, but I got the gist of it, the most memorable sequence is the long and uncut tracking traffic jam scene as various vehicles and people are stuck, I can see reasons the critics praise it, so it is certainly a watchable drama. Good!
  • Jean-Luc Goddard's film Week End is loaded with his obsessions with outrageous characters, political and philosophical ideas, and so on, and many viewers have claimed this to be a full on political film. From what I could gather after seeing a poor yet manageable copy of this film, I saw that this is possibly his best effort in terms of abrasive, surreal though bravura directing. He leaves the camera on his characters, with their flaws almost shining off them (which serves as an asset in some scenes), and yet most of the time it feels like he's directing a comedy of these events- comedy of errors. Consider the scene where the woman has the monologue in her panties and bra, how she leads up such telling, informatory details to a payoff that gives as a reminder of the Walken scene in Pulp Fiction (though he is the better actor). Or in other times the comedy is in the sense of a Goddard satire of his past work - the traffic set piece(s) gets the viewer to feel in the mood of the car he so piercingly follows, even as it becomes relentlessly obnoxious and tense, and acts like every other driver on the streets of the cities of America.

    It's a delirious, one-of-a-kind stretch to the heights of satirical madness. However that, and a moment of argument over a corpse in the passenger seat (he cuts to the faces of the onlookers who happen to find such duologue rather amusing), show by the time Goddard reached this stage in his career he wasn't taking himself and his work 100 % seriously, though that's not to say that the element of the woman's path to guerrilla-hood isn't a serious topic. For his art film die-hards he also uses a peculiar, non-linear style in story-telling- an added advantage for a week-end timepiece. By the time the cannibals come along in the woods (and yes, repetitive drum beat included as the camera continues to glide with a freedom and abandon akin to anarchy) you'll know whether you love it or hate it, or just scratch your head in confusion.

    I'm reminded of Fellini (as I was while watching another Goddard film of recent, Contempt) in one aspect of the picture, in terms of how he portrays his women- he can love them, ignore them, belittle them, or even glorify them in the most drastic of measures, but he can't control them. One also wonders if this is how he just makes it for his films, or if in real life the women of his life were really this (how do I put it) out-there. But on repeated viewings, this film reveals itself more and more, and in its very frustrating, uncompromising way, it's a true original. The script occasionally veers off on it's tale of a couple going on a disastrous week-end out for stretches of poetry, discussion, things that don't have much to do with the story, and yet there's a catching, eccentric, melodic aura to these scenes and passages. These kinds of scenes make it perfectly clear that Goddard has created an original work here, one that may put off audience members who "don't get it" or expect total sense in the outcomes. Certainly a movie made for it's time, country of origin, and target group (if there even IS one in the art-house or avant-garde crowd).

    To sum up my review let me put it this way - this is the kind of picture that would've heavily influenced The Doors...After seeing over a dozen others, and on repeat viewings, this is now my favorite Godard.
  • Me and French comedies will probably never become friendly with each other. On top of that, I have still yet to see a Jean-Luc Godard movie that I actually do like.

    This movie is typical of French comedies of its era, with featuring many long, stretched out scene's, in which it always remains the question of actually something good or funny will be happening at the end of it. Too often the answer to this is no.

    But it's also no an usual comedy or movie really. It's still more artistic than anything else really and it doesn't really necessarily follow a real plot. As a matter of fact, it features an extremely simplistic written story, in which things just seem to happen at random, without making a clear point about anything.

    Movies of this sort often get called a social satires or commentaries but I got absolutely nothing out of this movie. If there was a message in this all I surely missed it but somehow I also don't think Jean-Luc Godard was really trying to tell anything. It seems like he more wanted to test its audience by how they would be responding to certain sequences and themes that raise up in this movie. It's a movie that mostly attempts to shock, by becoming an odd sort of anarchistic comedy.

    And I can surely still appreciate the whole way this movie is being made. Despite coming across as utterly pointless I still couldn't really hate it, since its a skillfully directed movie, that often is also a real pleasure to look at. Visually this movie does has some great moments in it, which mostly come from the movie its technical aspects. There is some great camera-work in this movie, which is really about the only thing that stands out about this movie.

    No, guess I'm just not really a Jean-Luc Godard fan.

  • Jean-Luc Godard's massive WTF of a movie is certainly something to see, but I'm not going to promise that you'll enjoy it.

    But if you are familiar with Godard at all, you probably don't need me to warn you. An angry filmmaker who has always made angry movies about what's most wrong with our culture, Godard is at his most caustic in "Week End." It's like he was so mad that he decided to make a movie it would be impossible to enjoy in the traditional sense as a big "F YOU!" to humanity. Thus he plays thunderous music over scenes of dialogue so that you can't hear what people are saying, uses jump cuts and jerks to interrupt the visual flow of what you're seeing, and includes things like a 10-minute tracking shot of a traffic jam showing humanity and its most bizarre.

    My praise of Godard and his ilk is always qualified. I understand his importance in the development of film as an art form, but I also instantly bridle at the condescension of filmmakers who feel that it is their duty to use their films to teach me a lesson, and that films can only be meaningful if they are unpleasant.

    Grade: B+
  • Easily one of Godard's best films, although I'd hesitate to call it the best as many have in the past, Weekend is without a doubt his biggest film. Whatever its worth in Godard's canon, it is undoubtedly the summation of his early career and it is, indeed, a great film. See it if you like Godard. If you don't like Godard, don't see it. This is certainly not going to convert you. 9/10.
  • What a wonderful film! Coming back to this film after almost 40 years I am astonished at how invigorating and inspiring it remains. Moreover the passing of time has been very kind to this movie and revealed it to be far more influential and perceptive than one would ever have imagined. It was several years after this was released that we began to notice a black underbelly to the cultural revolution in the West. Not all free love and flowers we were to have to realise as Polanski's wife and friends were massacred and the summer of love began to go so wrong. Moreover, some of the direct political statements that seemed a little forced at the time now look startlingly pure and, once again, perceptive. Even ignoring the political aspect to the film it is a marvel to watch and so amusing. Not every scene makes total sense but we are swept along with so many exciting notions and provocative ideas to digest that the odd moment of perplexity is of no consequence and even increases the mystery. We are constantly convinced that every frame, every sound and every caption makes complete sense to Goddard and that is enough, even if we have to occasionally struggle to keep up. I haven't mentioned the graphic depictions of sex, death, cannibalism and more but then I think in some ways these elements put off potential viewers and they shouldn't. This has to be one of the great movies.
  • With a film like Weekend firmly secured under his belt, it's truly no wonder why French New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard has gone on to live in the hearts and minds of cinephiles young and old. Godard predicates himself off of convention-annihilation, otherwise known as destroying silently-accepted norms of filmmaking and with Weekend, it feels as if he held a book of cinematic conventions in his hand and went page-by-page, tearing each page out and proceeding to rip it up with great force.

    Running with this simile, Godard replaces each ripped-page with a page written all his own - pages that, unlike the predecessors, shatters all preconceived notions and silently-accepted conventions of cinema. The result is his 1967 film Weekend, a film that is one of the hardest pictures I've ever had to review or analyze. I suppose one could go through the film scene-by-scene and meticulously analyze what each one had to offer, but even that may make it difficult to come to conclusion. In my mind, it's best to watch Weekend from a distance and allow it to tamper with your mind and unfold like a violent trainwreck right before your eyes.

    We follow, through the best and worst of times, a French, bourgeois married couple, Roland (Jean Yanne) and Corinne (Mireille Darc). After a lengthy monologue involving Corinne describe, in great detail, a sexual experience in a way that is equal parts erotic and haunting, so begins their journey to Corinne's parents' countryhouse in order out collect her dying father's inheritance. If worse comes to worse, the couple plans to marry the man in order to collect the money as soon as possible.

    The trip is a chaotic one to say the least, beautiful in a disturbing way and disturbing in a beautiful way. The couple drive through the countryside of France, witnessing all accounts of shallow human materialism and the pitiful ugliness of western civilization in the form of angry, restless citizens, violent acts committed over relatively trivial occurrences, and several car wrecks and burning vehicles scattered on the side of the road.

    Arguably the most iconic shot of Godard's entire career is the lengthy tracking shot following a traffic jam for approximately three-hundred meters. The shot lasts about seven minutes and is captured at a small distance from the traffic, and shows the congested right-lane up close while the left lane is vacant and shows Roland and Corinne cruising at a controlled speed while seemingly removing the chaos from their mind.

    In this shot, like almost every other shot in Weekend, one could determine its meaning in several ways. Too me, Godard seems to be using these two characters' nonchalant and unfazed reactions to a violent traffic jam as a commentary for the desensitization of westerners in the regard that so much tragedy and evil happens at an excelling rate, looking away or just moving along with the tragedy and catastrophic events seems to be the easiest way to go about things. In present day society, things like mass shootings, war, poverty, and other forms of social ugliness have plagued newspapers and TV stations worldwide, so with constant ugliness around us, it's as if looking the other way is what we are best at.

    Godard's tracking shot brilliantly shows this in a way that some will find excessive and others will find astounding. Godard also uses his trademarks here to further destroy conventional cinema, such as flashing title-cards on screen that may or may not have to do with the subject matter, frequent jump cuts, unsteady shots, and some of the coldest depictions of society I have yet to see. The end of the film shows numerous people and animals slaughtered for what reward? Serviceable food rations and some sort of celebratory ritual amongst a group of anarchists that spout incoherent speeches about what appears to be a cross between appreciation for the land as well as control over it? It's dark and often hard to watch.

    With that being said, to call Weekend a tough sit for one-hundred and four minutes is almost an understatement. I emerge with the same remarks I had about Godard's directorial debut Breathless in that I had more fun writing the review and talking about the film than I did actually enduring it. With his frequent interjection of title cards, jump cuts, overlapping and fading sound mixing, among many other unconventional tactics, it's as if Godard, in the wake of creating one of France's most provocative and daring films, is also trying to create one of the country's most unwatchable pictures in history. If the subject matter wasn't enough, you have a presentation equal to a waiter spilling hot soup on your lap at a diner - it's a disruption to what you expect and it's thoroughly uncomfortable.

    But that's what you get with Weekend and what you take away from the film Godard doesn't seem to mind much. Whether you see it as a critique of bourgeois society, a magnifying glass on the hellish state of blue collar society, how bourgeois society views the lower classes, or a depiction of the disgusting materialism of western culture (or a combination of the aforementioned ingredients like myself), it would appear that Godard doesn't mind what you find in it. Thinking about it at great length, I'm almost certain he doesn't care if you watch it to begin with or emerge with something to contemplate. In a way, that would be the same kind of selfishness that Godard seems to be condemning in this picture. Who says what you have to take away and how you have to take it?
  • Two-timing with each other, a bourgeois French couple, Corinne (Darc) and Roland (Yanne), embarks on a road trip to visit Corinne's dying father in the countryside, licking their lips for the share of inheritance and is not above of resorting to murder to get minted. This is the callous premise of Jean-Luc Godard's iconoclastic WEEKEND, a larkish portent of the forthcoming May 1968 movement.

    "A film found in a dump" is one of the ceaseless and rip-snorting inter-titles interlaced into this vignette-laden social critique through Godard's trademark jump cuts, which pertinently manifests the film's anarchic nexus, what Godard presents is a society infested with self-seeking and blinkered characters, the collapse of post-industrial capitalism is blatantly symbolized by the wrecked automobiles, strewn along the pair's route, where human decorum is wantonly shredded, conflicts escalate into grapples and killing, their ill-fated journey is set into a tailspin attendant with surreal encounters and culminated with the fatal captivity of a cannibal brigand. The whole scenario is erratic, bizarre and starkly incendiary.

    Godard certainly has a field day with his whimsically conceptualized, bewitchingly coordinated mise-en-scène, and experiments on long shots with alacrity and proficiency (the one on the road is linearly uninterrupted and another one in the farm pans through a 360-degree panorama with the diegetic Sonata No. 19 in D-major played by a pianist holding forth on Mozart's genius), to the cinema culture, he is truly a revolutionary, a visionary and a sui generis aesthete, his works forever change film's syntax and structure: line-delivery can be obscured by swelling score; linear narrative can be disjointed into tonally disparate segments then stitched back into the story-line on top of numerous left-field choices such as conspicuous elision, contextual irrelevance and overt agitprop ideology; and apart from his avant-garde modus operandi, what lies beneath is an elemental force of dark humor betraying his perspicuous understanding of human's behavioral pattern and pernicious psychology (looking at the loveless co-existence between the couple, there is no bottom-line in one's total abandon apropos of brutality).

    A biting attack on capitalism and bourgeois, Godard's WEEKEND is not as inaccessible as many purport, and it has a bemusing tongue-in-cheek aplomb which is counter-intuitively droll but impeccably captures the sign of the times, you don't sense the anger, but in the end of the day, you are chuckling with a simmering sting of foreboding.
  • "Weekend" is artsy agitprop that seems to be, because it's a mess, interpreted in all sorts of likewise nonsense ways. For one, J. Joberman of "Village Voice" compared it to "Alice in Wonderland" and the works of Marquis de Sade. No and no. As sadistic as Godard was to spectators of this film, one weird erotic story told in an early scene and a couple suggestions of rape later on hardly make this relevant on the latter account. As for the supposed Carrollian connection, it's what brought me here, as I've been seeking a bunch of often-loosely-inspired-by movies since reading the Alice books. This isn't one of them. There's a scene where a girl is reading on the shore as other characters row a boat towards her, bringing skinned rabbits along, being about the closest "Weekend" even comes to referencing those literary classics--besides one of the many title cards that meaninglessly cite Carroll (and right after an equally pointless evocation of Emily Brontë). Unlike Carroll's stories, Godard's film isn't really nonsense, either, at least not in the literary sense, and, unlike the Alice books, it certainly contains moral lessons--in the form of characters, or figures, obnoxiously shouting Marxist propaganda. There's a clear, albeit uninteresting, narrative, too, involving a murderous bourgeois couple driving to the country seeking inheritance.

    This plot inevitably falls apart by way of the constant fourth-wall breaking as a means to introduce more unhurried haranguing before devolving into a silly episode of supposed cannibalism. "Weekend" decidedly gets worse as it goes on and on and on.... The beginning plays out as a relatively inoffensive parody of the reputed aggressive and reckless driving habits of the French--before one begins to suspect that this, too, is an inept attempt at satirizing capitalism, or consumerism, fascists, or war, or whatever bogeyman. Things start getting especially bad when Godard and company begin showing off their skill in long tracking shots to record the most mundane or inane of activities, including, first, a traffic jam and, later, guys playing either the piano or drums in the middle of nowhere. The incessant flashing titles cards, which often merely tell the time, are tolerable by comparison. After all, one should expect some attempt at revolutionary filmmaking if the content is supposed to be revolutionary. The first Marxist filmmakers, of the Soviet Union, excelled in this regard with rapid montage. Godard mostly reuses his old book of meta-movie tricks and traditional filmmaking, such as those tracking shots, but the titling, at least, looks nice, colorful and with well-chosen font. And, the titles preclude shouting, which is a relief from the rest of the proceedings. The makers of "The Raspberry Reich," for one, found such text so effective as to appropriate such style for their own Marxist movie.

    I'm just happy I'm done with this trash film, and I have a newfound respect that my undergraduate teachers decided to go with screenings of "Breathless" (1960), instead, a masterpiece by comparison to "Weekend."
  • I've thrown rocks at cops in protest rallies in my angsty youth, if nothing else at least I can understand anger and outrage as expression of political sentiment. I can also understand the folly of that violence. With a film like Week End, do we give Godard his satire or do we bemoan how blunt it is?

    Inasmuch as the film is an opportunity to express politics rather than a forum to discuss them, I'm willing it to give Godard the stage to see what he has to say. Is the vehicular havoc of the beginning "a scene of Parisian life", perhaps, Paris is notorious for its traffic jams, but the famous tracking shot that defines this part of the movie plays out like a tableaux of Tati humour, except there's no charm in its delicacy, the intended effect is horn-blaring cacophony. It gets the point across, this is a world of madness and hysteria we're tracking through.

    But what about the politics expressed here, once the amusing novelty wears off what happens inside this apocalyptic landscape of provincial roads littered with corpses and wrecked cars? A film doesn't need to resort to protest rally sloganeering to be agitprop, but when it does, when it quotes from Marx and Engels, when the US and Israel is the source of evil (curiously enough, France is not singled out among the imperialists), when the actual problems of Africa are trivialized in the manner of reading from a pamphlet, does that reveal a filmmaker who doesn't know any better or one that does but chooses to obfuscate the bigger picture to promote an ideology?

    I guess I'm wondering if the malice is naive or deliberate. If it was any other filmmaker I might begin to consider that the intended message is also an object of outrage and ricidule, but for someone who was a proclaimed Maoist, I can't help but shudder at the thought that he means what he says.

    Godard seems to me like he's the bourgeoisie of cinema, exactly what he despises. Having solved his apparent problems, he turns to the world to find a source of vexation to complain about. There's an insatiable hunger here to point out wrongs and shake fists in the air, nothing to love or embrace or attempt to understand. If he's not sneering at his own countrymen, he will speak on behalf of blacks or Arabs or he will make idiotic claims about modern music. His little reenactment of a revolution in the Parisian countryside is a mockery of that revolution.

    To paraphrase the words of one of his characters, likely there are more terrifying things to contemplate than the strange nature of man, but Godard can't even contemplate that strange nature. Likely he can understand it, he's an intelligent film mind and in the first few minutes seemingly without effort he creates a marvelous game of deceit, but he's too busy humiliating it, too busy trying to provoke a response to really evoke something. Fin du cinema, only for him maybe.
  • I have a lot of problems with Godard's movies. I don't dispute that he is one of the great innovators of modern film making and 'Breathless' is certainly one of the few movies that changed cinema forever. But I don't really ENJOY watching 'Breathless' all that much , 'Bande a part' mostly bored me stupid , and 'Alphaville' is interesting for the most part but not exactly the most entertaining movie ever made... 'Week End' however is one of the few Godard movies I actually watch and LIKE and recommend. For most people it is one of his most difficult movies but I didn't find that to be the case. Anyone who enjoys surreal movies like those of Bunuel ('The Exterminating Angel' is name-dropped in 'Week End') or David Lynch or Peter Greenaway's underrated gem 'The Falls', or even vintage Monty Python will find this movie utterly fascinating. Corinne (Mireille Darc) and Roland (Jean Yanne) are two awful characters, almost proto-yuppies, who go on a drive to the country to weedle some money out of Corinne's parents. They immediately find themselves caught in a nightmarish traffic jam, and after that the movie get progressively weirder. Someone (I think it's Roland) says "this movie is rotten. All we meet are insane characters" (I'm paraphrasing). And that about nails it. We see Emily Bronte and fictional characters interact with Corinne and Roland, rape, murder, violence, revolution and all kinds of strangeness. The movie was released in 1967, best know as the Summer Of Love and the height of flower power, but Godard anticipates the darkness and despair of 1968 and 1969 when The Stones sang "the time is right for bloody revolution", The Stooges "1969 okay, war across the USA", The Doors "we want the world and we want it now!". 'Week End' is the anarchic side of the 1960s, not the peace'n'love'n' Woodstock 1960s. In many ways the movie is years ahead of its time anticipating (as did 'Alphaville') postmodernism. It can be difficult viewing at times, sometimes a bit frustrating if you prefer a conventional narrative, but I really really like it, and there's just nothing quite like it anywhere. If I was going to put some 1960s movies in a time capsule for future generations I would include 'Week End' alongside 'A Hard Day's Night', 'The Trip', 'Blow Up', 'Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!', 'Easy Rider', 'If...', 'Psycho', 'El Topo', 'Performance' and one or two others. Highly recommended inspired anarchic weirdness!
  • Not necessarily Godard's best work, but certainly his most jarring. Some of the commentary was quite amazing, especially when the working class people laugh over the plight of the dead male Bourgeois being lamented by his money-loving girlfriend. Stark, bright, loud and scathing, this is a rather eschewed look at the world of its time and even the world today.
  • valadas29 April 2004
    I never liked any of Godard's movies and this one confirms my impression. It is composed by a succession of flashes exposing this mad civilization we have in a mixture of humour and tragedy mainly based on a series of car crashes with bloody bodies spread everywhere to degenerate into a succession of absurd scenes and characters performing a lot of nonsense without any thread, mixing up Vietnam, colonialism, class war, consumer society, bourgeois values, adultery, etc as if Godard is making fun of all of them. However to cultivate the absurd as a form of art you need the talent and the genius of a Beckett or a Ionesco which Godard clearly doesn't have. Ok he mocks our society, he mocks mankind, he mocks politics and morals but from which point of view? Whose are his values? Against which background must we see his characters? His filmography leaves us in the most complete ignorance about that. At least Woody Allen makes us think and meditate. To watch a Godard's movie is in my opinion a total waste of time.
  • An utterly insane, yet amazing and important movie unlike anything else, except for movies made by Godard. This is arguably the peak of his career, and arguably easier, yet more difficult to watch. A mad day in a downfall of human kind, or at least modern society, where chaos rules, even in the film makers head. Some scenes are explicit, some are ridiculous with mad dialog, others are pure pornography, either for your thoughts, your eyes or for your live of classic cars or accidents.

    The film has some amazing bits which are both unlike anything you've seen or would believe, and some parts of the movie will annoy or even bore you, almost to death. It's a kind of dystopia downfall of human society, where it seems like the extraordinary thing are the ordinary.

    It's the most foul and awful weekend you could ever imagine, made with great visuals, annoyingly long scenes, hopeless cutting and amazing shots. It's political, and a very important anarchistic work, which explores both the film media, as well as the audience. Annoying sounds, extraordinary panoramic, oddly cut like in a society which have lost it's rules, and where all of nothing means something at the same time.

    It's in no way a perfect film. It's not supposed to be. It's supposed to make you feel something. It'll most likely be a love/hate relationship, where you have to decide what is to gain as a viewer.

    Most amazing scenes: 1) The opening scene with the sexual description. 2) The fighting scene with the bullying kid. 3) The amazing road accident queue with the following senseless driving. 4) The bloody animal scene... And there's more scenes hard to forget. Pick your own!

    Warning: Don't expect a coherent story or a meaningful point with all scenes. Enjoy if you like to see something different and wild mixed with strong visuals.
  • Despite having a cleverly conceived and infamous 8 minute continuous take of the traffic jam from hell, I simply find this film nasty.

    There is no humour to lift the macabre hell and whilst it might have been dreamt up in a hallucinogenic haze, when this was fashionable, this doesn't relate to me.

    I get the slant on the misplaced morals in a modern society (a woman escaping from a burning car is only concerned for her designer handbag, not her passengers' well-being). It then just gets weirder and weirder, interspersed by shrill lunacy.

    As you can guess, I've never got into J L Godard. I love with passion almost all French, Italian and other world cinema, with Felinni and Bergman, both considered a bit balmy and self-centred, as favourites.

    It was only through esteemed Film Guides and other reviews that praised this film to the heights that I ever considered buying it. It's relative rarity and controversy are the only reasons to hang onto it.
  • If you want just one film, which has EVERYTHING, than this is it.

    Comedy: hilarious farce. Silly violent slapstick. Satire. Incongruity. Iconoclasm. Our hero beats up a semiological Emily Bronte. Lunch munching dustbin men offer Maoist analyses.

    Violence: Quiet French countryside littered with car-crashes. Cannibalistic terrorists. Muggings.

    Politics: Godard wants to destroy not just cinema, but Western culture as a whole. Made in the period of unrest just before les evenements of 68. Conventional plot offered and attacked on all sides. Important narrative action elided; irrelevancies privileged.

    Aesthetics: Extraordinary beautiful use of colour, music and intertitles - this is the ultimate in Brechtian cinema. Ten-minute traffic jam one of the great sequences in cinema.

    WEEK END is a film of two halves. The first part - hilarious and frightening - destroys everything we know and hold dear. The second offers something new. It is noisy, relentless, repetitive, repulsive. It may not be a success, but it is one of the bravest acts in the history of any artform.

    After this Godard left the commercial cinema for 13 years. Even today his films are unparalelled in their daring, enquiry and fury. He is too much - we just ignore him. We deserve what we get.
  • This was the culmination of almost seven years of work for Godard; arriving at a point in which his command of the film-making process was at its most confident and his talent as both a satirist and a grand provocateur could be channelled into making his ultimate statement - about society, cinema and the future of both - in such a way as to act as the bridge between the work that came before, and the work that would eventually follow. With Week End (1967), the intention was to confront the audience with the ultimate depiction of bourgeois decadence in all its morally-bankrupt banality; extending on the ideas behind his previous film, the complicated 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967) - in which prostitution was used as a metaphor for a vapid consumer society willing to confine itself to ineffective action, whilst simultaneously selling itself out for the comfort of life's little luxuries - and all the while creating a merciless parody of the decline of western civilisation in a way that seems frighteningly close to the world that we live in today.

    Throughout the film, Godard maintains a tone that is both serious and sardonic; showing us the morally-bankrupt nature of these characters and the mechanisms of the society in which they exist, while simultaneously creating an almost apocalyptic depiction of the end of society brought down by selfishness, consumerism, cannibalism and more. Alongside these particular themes, Godard layers in rudiments of social satire, contemporary French politics, the air of revolution - as hinted towards in the preceding send-up of La Chinoise (1967) - and a less than subtle reliance on Marxist ideologies to tie the whole thing together. Combine these elements with the director's continually provocative approach to film-making - including his typically unconventional use of music, inter-titles, crash cuts, tracking shots, pop-art inspired iconography and jarringly beautiful primary colours, all tied together by the always polarising appropriation of Brecht - and you have a film that is nothing less than progressive, defiant and utterly unique. All of these devises are used to disorientate the audience in a way that makes the viewing of the film as uncomfortable as possible; as scenes drag on and on while the camera explores the often absurd and abstracted tableau of scenes and scenarios in a way that seems to assault the senses of those of us more familiar with the conventional (i.e. bland) films still being produced by Hollywood to this very day.

    With this in mind, many approach Week End as anti-narrative film; somehow implying that the film lacks the required elements of plot or character. However, this simply isn't the case. Although it as a far removed from conventional cinema as you could possibly get, there is still a definite narrative to be followed here; with central characters, themes and the traditional idea of characters moving towards a certain set goal as the film progresses. However, there's no attempt to pander to the notions of genre or convention; with Godard instead using satire, allegory, metaphor, pastiche and deconstruction to create several separate avenues of interpretation that all lead back to the central comment on the nature of society in the year nineteen sixty seven. At the time of its release, Week End was seen as a stark comment on the way society was heading, and without question Godard was spot on in his depiction of a world sold out and cast adrift, consumed by consumption its very self and eventually reaching the point at which all forms of expression break down, and are replaced by barbaric savagery, cynicism and self-delusion.

    You could argue that most viewers dislike the film simply because it challenges them to think carefully about their own actions and the way they live their lives; with Godard all the while offering his amusing, provocative and highly satirical condemnation of a vapid society, personified by the parasitic creation of Roland and Corrine, a couple so truly fuelled by consumption and greed that the plot itself practically hinges on the question of whether or not they would resort to killing an elderly relative simply for financial gain. Although heavily stylised and overblown for purposes of surrealist humour, Roland and Corrine offer a mirror image of contemporary society at its very worst; predicting a number of currently relevant notions such as the loss of tradition, honour, family and respect, as well as the ultimate destruction, disregard and dismissal of concepts such as art, culture and history. Look around you and you'll see the social relevance of Week End, not simply as a satirical piece, but as a work of pure, abstract prophesy. Society may not have descended to the level of cannibal revolutionaries in the literal sense; but in the regurgitation of violence, horror, sensationalism, scandal, greed and consumption we feed off the carcass of the twentieth century and continue to ask for more.

    These themes are expressed in the form of an episodic road movie, continually stylised and colour coded in reference to the traditions of the French flag - with its noble references to liberty, equality and fraternity turned into purposely banal expressions of on-screen agitprop - with even the most profane elements of the plot captured with all the pastoral, idyllic warmth of a traditional picture postcard. The themes and ideas behind the film run so much deeper than this review could ever suggest, with Godard creating one of the most interesting, exciting and entirely radical films of this period. It is difficult and it does take work; however, the sheer weight of Godard's ideas, the intelligence of his vision and the relevance of his themes make it a more than worthwhile experience. Give it time, and you might realise that much of the film is satire at its most wicked. It's also a great deal of fun, and has a number of fantastic scenes that just get better and better with each consecutive viewing.
  • It's set in 1967 France but is a cynical, absurdist movie about the collapse of Western culture.

    Corinne Durand (Mireille Darc) and Roland Durand (Jean Yanne) are a married couple who hate each other and believe life would be better if the other was dead. However, they are consumer-obsessed and agree to stay together until Corrine's wealthy dying father dies. They plan to negotiate the inheritance with Corrine's mother. They bicker and constantly fight until, by the end, only one survives.

    The film is a succession of vignettes, some more related to one another than others. There are many auto accidents that burst into flames and violence that springs from innocuous incidents. There is a lengthy opening scene in which Corrine recites a recent sexual encounter with "Paul" and Paul's wife to her analyst in extremely explicit language.

    There is a surreal "traffic jam" section that delays their arrival. Other absurdist interactions exist with Thom Thumb, Emily Brontë, Algerian and African garbage truck drivers who spout Marxist doctrine, French philosophers, and hippie revolutionaries who indulge in cannibalism.

    All of this is filmed in bright 1960s colors.

    This is one of the strangest movies I've ever seen. But it all made sense as a response to the trembling of Western civilization at the end of the 1960s. So in that sense, it's a dated movie but a valuable historical relic.
  • What if on the day, you went out for a family picnic the world fell apart.

    This is as absurd, anarchistic, and pretentiously french as you can possibly imagine, and then a little more so. From the pornographic opening, to I think ,one of, if not, the single longest take in film history (around 15 minutes stuck in traffic, surrounded by bodies and wreckage), the oddest musical montage ever, and the cannibalistic Moaists, it's no wonder that at several points the characters complain aloud that they "wish we were in a less ridiculous film".

    This is made at the height of Godard's 60's anti-everything period, and it shows a smidgen...radical left wing politics, literary and philosophical theory, post-modern jokes, and sheer shock cinema, ebb up constantly to convolute an otherwise simple story of French couple trying to take a weekend drive through the country.

    Fans of "The Holy Mountain", Takashi Miike, Monty Python, and Luis Bunuel, will enjoy Godard here at his most unhinged and unleashed. It's every bit as witty and intellectually vigorous as anything Godard has created it's just that now all of those ideas which had simmered under the surface have erupted in mass volcanoes. Agitating, difficult, and annoying, yes, but it works on in spite of it, because each scene is utterly different from the last. Singular and well done, something different, from the master of something different.
  • One knows the feeling, molly coddled and adored by the well to do upper middle class, secretly loving it in return but fearing emasculation, a filmmaker ups the ante. How much can they take and still worship me. More it seems. Endlessly more...Powerful moments throughout but also a bit of a chore, like sitting through a lecture. He is preaching to the converted only, anyone else would probably walk out long before the end. However, it is important as a vision of hell on earth and takes its place in film history, next to Tati's Playtime, released the same year and the reverse of the misanthropic view of humanity on display here. However the relentlessness of it's anti-establishment imagery and messages - presumably but not definitely sincere - could have the reverse effect of making one sympathise with the cartoonishly nasty couple at it's centre and driving one to rabid capitalism.
  • After seeing WEEKEND (1967), it is hilarious to me that the only film I've heard attached to Jean-Luc Godard's name my entire life has been BREATHLESS, a film which offered absolutely nothing for me, while this movie is a groundbreaker.

    It is by no means a pleasant watch, and possibly the oldest fully transgressive movie I've ever seen. What a nightmare. Hard to get through, but an important piece of art. Truly mean-spirited in nature, which I was previously unaware had been done in the 60's, until now. Almost entirely surrealist, often breaking the 4th wall, and many general rules, consciously - most certainly a precursor for movies such as Funny Games.

    The audio feels as if it's made to challenge you. Ripping, grating, high end tearing into you relentlessly. It's only adds to the anxiety that this film clearly aims to induce.

    The movie feels truly sadistic from a filmmaker's perspective but it's all done with clear purpose. The movie felt like it went on forever, and it wasn't always thrilling, but my level of respect for it never dwindled as I battled through. When things got most twisted, there were definitely a lot of laughs to be had, but all you can do is laugh when the satire and the subject matter is actually so vile. Laugh the pain away. I'm definitely going to check out more Godard from this period in the future, after seeing this.
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