Week End (1967)

WEEK END (1967)
Article 1950 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-17-2006
Posting Date: 12-14-2006
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Featuring Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon

A bourgeois couple takes a weekend trip and encounters an endless stream of traffic accidents, annoying people, and strange characters.

I suppose fantasy is as good a classification as any for this bizarre and at times (intentionally) annoying foray into surrealistic politically-themed French new wave cinema by one of the masters of the form. Unless I’m mistaken, I’ve only covered one other movie by Godard (ALPHAVILLE), and even when he’s being straightforward (relatively, anyway) as he was with that one, I have trouble with him. Still, I suspect that this one isn’t quite as difficult as it seems at first; its political themes and hatred of the bourgeois are out in the open, and once you realize that certain scenes exist primarily to yank our chains as viewers (including the description of the erotic encounter near the beginning of the movie and the endless traffic-jam sequence), it does give you a sense that you could probably sort it all out. The trouble is, I’m not sure Godard really makes me want to go through the trouble; his cinematic style doesn’t really speak to me in the way that, say, Cocteau or Fellini does. Even though I will admit that he can be quite effective here on occasion, he doesn’t make me want to watch the movie again, and once he decides to show the onscreen slaughter of a pig and a chicken to make his points, he loses a great deal of my sympathy. I think I’ll leave this one to fans of the director’s oeuvre.


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