Thursday, March 22, 2007

Week End

Week-End; Satire, France/Italy, 1967; D: Jean-Luc Godard, S: Jean Yanne, Mireille Darc, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Yves Beneyton

Corinne is telling her husband Roland how she had an affair, but he is indifferent to that information. The young bourgeois couple then leaves with their car on a long road trip to inherit some money from her parents, but right from the start they scratch another car, causing it's owner to attack them with his gun. Later on, they get trapped in an endless traffic jam and pick up some Balsam who claims that he is God's son and that he will grant them any wish if they just bring him to London. When they throw him out, their car breaks down, causing them to continue their journey by foot. They meet Emily Bronte whom they put on fire, a man from the French revolution, a truck driver that gives them a lift. When they finally get to Corinne's mother, she announces she is going to change the will. They kill her and inherit the money, but a group of cannibals/revolutionists kill Roland, and Corinne joins them.

Jean-Luc Godard lost his patience with the bourgeois civilisation and crossed the deepest into the avant-garde territory with one of his most famous, but not one of his best films, "Week-End", a grotesque about the larpurlartism of life that describes itself in the opening titles; "A film lost in cosmos". "Week-End" is an anti film. In it, there are no rules. If Punk rock would be a film, it would be "Week-End". In it Godard is often deliberately numbing the audience with Dadaism and incorporating long scenes, the most famous one being the 8 minute long shot in which the camera is slowly passing by a long row of cars in a traffic jam, stopping occasionally at some vehicles, like the truck that was carrying a lama. This film without a story is sucking the couple Roland/ Corinne into a surreal, artificial, sometimes eclectic world; they pick up a man who claims to be God's son and to have special powers, pulling up a rabbit out of their trunk in their car. Later on they are even in the middle of a hilariously cynical situation in which they meet the novelist Emily Bronte in the forest, starting commenting with absurd dialogues ("What a stupid movie! Everyone is an idiot!" - "It's your fault for for accepting this role!"), even being so ignorant and annoyed to put her on fire. The end even contains a real scene of people killing a goose and a pig. "Week-End" is a wonderful joke to the audience, an inventive art-movie to the extreme that has to be seen just for that quality alone, contemplating the inevitable dead end of film, art and mankind as we know it, with direct leftist critique of the Western world and rules, without any emotions or humanity. The only problem is that the film thinks it's smarter than it actually is; in one scene, a title saying "A film found on a scrap heap" is flashed on the screen. Unfortunately, that's somewhat true.


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