Sunday, 13 April 2008

Weekend (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)

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(french with english hardsub)

rs mirror

"Weekend" is perversitas maxima. In any possible way. Starting with the two protagonists who radiate no amiability and arouse no empathy in the audience whatsoever. They are all too much like yourself, you know? *wink*. Roland (Jean Yanne) and Corinne (Mireille Darc) are on their way to Oinville in order to secure her inheritance by murdering her father. Lovely, huh? On a country road, they get into a (most notorious) traffic jam. Certainly, the atmosphere is one of malevolence. The scene itself is one cutless tracking shot lasting for about 7 minutes and is one of the most hilarious parts of the film. There are actually more scenes of this kind in the film.

As the couple continues on their journey quite ruthlessly (bumping other cars or bicyclers off the road into the ditch), the audience is presented with a landscape where car wrecks and people's corpses lie scattered about in unbelievable quantity. Even the protagonists' car gets wrecked at one point, followed by Corinne's utmost despair over her Hermès handbag being forever lost in the fire. Vraiment désastreux!
Animals are slaughtered in possibly the most graphic way I've encountered so far. Really, the rabbit, the pig and the chicken were the only creatures in this film that I felt for.
And yet, the various side characters in this film make it such a weirdly delightful, albeit sickening experience to watch. Joseph Balsamo, for instance, is so terribly fantastic. Peng! Peng! "God’s an old queer, as everyone knows. He fucked [Alexandre] Dumas and I’m the result. Thus: I am God." There's also a girl whose boyfriend died upon having collided with a tractor and now, she furiously rants and raves at the tractor driver but it seems she's more concerned with the demolished car and her blood-spattered clothes. Later on, Roland and Corinne meet a young man (the impersonator of which - Jean-Pierre Léaud - we see earlier on, reading a political manifesto of French revolutionist Antoine de Saint-Just, all dressed up in a military uniform) singing wistfully in a phone booth to his lover on the other end of the line, and they attempt to steal his car. And then there's Emily Brontë. They are easily fed up with her sensitive speeches and when she won't tell them the way to Oinville, they burn her.

"What a rotten film, all we meet are crazy people."

The soundtrack by Antoine Duhamel, at first listen, really is ignorable, as in I don't like it, but that might just as well been Godard's purpose, non? Naturally, I'm excluding Mozart's 18th piano sonata here that can be heard in another long shot in the film. ;)
As you might have guessed, "Weekend" is a tremendously political film in the disguise of a bloody roadmovie where "every, really every conflict is a matter of life and death carried to the utmost extreme" (via). I won't even begin to conceive the spheres of political (sub)text addressed here, I enjoyed it more because of its radical violation of most cinematographic conventions and its merciless depiction of human immorality which make it so flagitiously funny. Just as El-Bira says in the review linked above (if you're well-versed in German, you might want to read the whole thing): "Weekend" is the epitome of antifilm, really.


Anonymous said...

Hoy hoy! welcome back jessica.Not just our ears but now our eyes!I'm starting in chronological order with a much appreciated chance of seeing 'Angel's egg'-i'm really looking forward to it.
Thank you for your glorious ecclecticism and good taste
yours scavenging angel

lurker said...

Thanks Jessica:
1) for being back
2) for the Godard.
You probably know Philippe Garrel.
If not, try. You wont be deceived.

lurker said...

Following my earlier post, I found a Garrel somewhere. Those who have a high bandwidth (not me) might want to download it. I saw it once on screen, it's beautiful. You need a bit torrent client.

lurker said...

Here's the link again.
Split into pieces.

Jessica said...

@ lurker: hey, thank you so much for your recommendation. I certainly hadn't heard of Garrel before but just took a look at the trailer and will definitely give this a chance (Nico's a plus, heh). if it ever finishes downloading, that is ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey the links aren't working anymore. Could you re-upload them? Thanks!

jessica said...

a rapidshare mirror of this film is available over here: