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Week End
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Reviews & Ratings for
Weekend More at IMDbPro »Week End (original title)

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96 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

Still the meanest film on the block.

10/10
Author: miloc from Bronx, New York
4 March 2002

I gave this movie a 10 out of 10. I expect many people would feel hard-pressed to give it a 2 on the same scale, and I honestly wouldn't blame those who do. "Week End" is a machine built to provoke, and perhaps irritation as well as admiration can be a measure of such a machine's success.

For myself, I love it. It boils with anger, frustration, and insane energy. In one sense, it approaches film like the Cubists approached painting, breaking down images, ideas, characters and plot into startlingly photographed, almost geometric segments. But where the Cubists were to content to experiment with form Godard's instincts stay furiously political; it's as though an early Picasso had been commandeered and refitted by George Grosz.

Arrogance is not always a drawback, as rock and roll fans know-- and "Week End" is a terribly arrogant film. The director trashes every convention that he can think of. It's all thrown together-- music, dialogue, on-screen text, unvarnished political theory, frightening violence-- onto a bare hook of a plot: a young, apparently soulless couple go on a week-end trip in the middle of what appears to be the end of Western civilization. Without apologies Godard throws this mess on the table and asks the rest of us, "What have you got to match it?"

Sadly, not much. Cinema as an art has regressed rather than advanced since this film was released. (Godard himself stalled after "Week End.") Despite the rise of independently funded, non-Hollywood films in the past decade, no one seems ready to dare the sort of experimentation with what film could be that was begun in the 60s, and this is a sad thing. The films made by Godard at the height of his powers are all the more precious now. "Week End" is a document of a time when film mattered. It is an artifact, but it would only be dated if it had been surpassed. It does not rest in peace.

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61 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

weekend: one of the few truly great political films

10/10
Author: Jeff Johnston (bobothechimp@hotmail.com)
3 July 2001

Weekend is one of the best movies I've ever seen, but it's also one of the most troubling. Its depth politically is, I believe, unmatched in cinema; Godard is truly a master, but this is, like a Sun Ra record, art for which you might need to be prepared.

By telling you to "be prepared," however, I don't mean to say you should go read up on film history. Sure, you'll miss a trick or two if you don't, but there's enough material to keep you very, very interested even if you're not a film student. Nor, in fact, should you even feel the need to read up on French history; it suffices to say that, to be very simplistic about it, as the U.S. was to Vietnam at the time, so France was to Algeria. Really, if you wanted to be ready for ALL the intellectual references and name-dropping, you ought to have a good classical education. That's hard to get, so I can't possibly suggest that...

What I do mean by "be prepared" is: be prepared for long shots that might not make sense, be prepared to consider your place in the world... be prepared to think about the movie while it's running. Hollywood encourages us to turn off our brains while we're watching a movie; Godard doesn't allow it. His film is intentionally aggravating and annoying at times, but Godard knows precisely what he's doing, and he manipulates the viewer expertly. (The infamous "car-jam scene" is to this day the most annoying and at the same time one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.) Be prepared to consider your place in society, society's place in the world, and the problems of those situations. Godard raises numerous incredibly important questions: what is the final fate of literature and the wealths of past generations handed down after political upheaval is finished with them? what is the point of any rhetoric-- communist or otherwise-- in a world of selfish, stupid bourgeois pigs (and, as anyone who's ever worked in fast food will tell you, this one is)? does art even have a purpose in a marketplace?

I personally disagree with those who claim that Weekend is dated and only interesting historically. The message is only obscured to us because the draft is no longer in full swing and because the entertainment industry has succeeded in lulling us into false security. We still have our Vietnams, though they may be secret; and, facts must be faced, most of us are still complete and total jerks, caring very little for the world around us and very much for our own pleasure. At the heart of Godard's movie is a deep and abiding love and compassion for humanity; the decadence of the world around us, however, forces the surface of the film to be cynical and hateful toward all the disgusting influences which keep us from being what we could be.

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42 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

weekend: one of the few truly great political films

10/10
Author: Jeff Johnston (bobothechimp@hotmail.com)
3 July 2001

Weekend is one of the best movies I've ever seen, but it's also one of the most troubling. Its depth politically is, I believe, unmatched in cinema; Godard is truly a master, but this is, like a Sun Ra record, art for which you might need to be prepared.

By telling you to "be prepared," however, I don't mean to say you should go read up on film history. Sure, you'll miss a trick or two if you don't, but there's enough material to keep you very, very interested even if you're not a film student. Nor, in fact, should you even feel the need to read up on French history; it suffices to say that, to be very simplistic about it, as the U.S. was to Vietnam at the time, so France was to Algeria. Really, if you wanted to be ready for ALL the intellectual references and name-dropping, you ought to have a good classical education. That's hard to get, so I can't possibly suggest that...

What I do mean by "be prepared" is: be prepared for long shots that might not make sense, be prepared to consider your place in the world... be prepared to think about the movie while it's running. Hollywood encourages us to turn off our brains while we're watching a movie; Godard doesn't allow it. His film is intentionally aggravating and annoying at times, but Godard knows precisely what he's doing, and he manipulates the viewer expertly. (The infamous "car-jam scene" is to this day the most annoying and at the same time one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.) Be prepared to consider your place in society, society's place in the world, and the problems of those situations. Godard raises numerous incredibly important questions: what is the final fate of literature and the wealths of past generations handed down after political upheaval is finished with them? what is the point of any rhetoric-- communist or otherwise-- in a world of selfish, stupid bourgeois pigs (and, as anyone who's ever worked in fast food will tell you, this one is)? does art even have a purpose in a marketplace?

I personally disagree with those who claim that Weekend is dated and only interesting historically. The message is only obscured to us because the draft is no longer in full swing and because the entertainment industry has succeeded in lulling us into false security. We still have our Vietnams, though they may be secret; and, facts must be faced, most of us are still complete and total jerks, caring very little for the world around us and very much for our own pleasure. At the heart of Godard's movie is a deep and abiding love and compassion for humanity; the decadence of the world around us, however, forces the surface of the film to be cynical and hateful toward all the disgusting influences which keep us from being what we could be.

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26 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

The decline and fall of western civilisation, parts 5 to 10

Author: Graham Greene from United Kingdom
13 July 2008

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.

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41 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

They don't make 'em like this anymore

10/10
Author: Nick Soapdish from United States
31 March 2004

Watching "Weekend" gave me the same joyous sensation as watching Bunuel's "The Phantom of Liberty." It's so blessedly free from conventionality that it's a rollercoaster of voyeuristic pleasure. Every scene is a text unto itself and maybe it relates to the whole, maybe it doesn't. Godard is making up his own rules as he goes along. This might be the first truly existential film I've seen. It's the kind of movie Nietzsche would've made if he'd been alive to see the advent of film art.

It's a shame, though, that the closest thing we have to Godard nowadays is guys like Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson. Not to knock Q or Wes - I have a lot of love for their movies - but you just don't feel the same freedom watching one of their movies as you do watching Godard's, because with theirs you still realize you're following a constricting narrative path, contrived to hoodwink us into thinking the world makes sense.

There is certainly a place for that kind of filmmaking. But there's a place for Godard's kind, too, and it's a shame that niche isn't being satisfied.

11+ (cuz JLG's a rule breaker)

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23 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A funny, horrifying, senseless (at times), artistic film worth seeing.

9/10
Author: Eli_Cash from Buffalo, New York
24 May 2004

Wow, such a polarizing film! It seems everyone either detests this work as something less than terrible or conversely praise it to the heavens. I guess I'm sadly somewhere in between. Having read a bit of theory behind the film before I saw it I won't rehash that here, only state my reaction, for if there's anything this picture cries out for it is a reaction. Well here goes. Parts are horrifying. Far more disturbing than slasher film gore (mostly because the imagery being dispensed with aren't human). Parts are boring (and NOT the ten minute tracking shot which was a gem. Has anyone even been in a traffic jam before? Godard merely replicates it and all the while makes you wonder where that couple's car is heading, and what could have caused such a jam). Parts don't make sense, mostly because I don't think they are supposed to. That is their purpose, to disrupt sense. And, surprisingly something that nobody on here has mentioned, parts are very very funny. Okay, so perhaps not everyone will laugh as often as I did, but please, lighten up kids, Godard is making fun of us, its healthy to laugh at oneself once and a while. And some of his film is just fun too. Okay, now go back to the other reviews of how hopelessly miserable you'll feel after watching this, or how much of a religious awakening this will be if your down with the art-house film-erati. Definitely worth seeing.

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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A surrealist fantasy - or nightmare

9/10
Author: daniel charchuk
2 December 2007

Yeah, it's super bizarre and it's probably Godard's strangest work (which is saying a lot) that I've seen, but I still couldn't look past the glaring flaws and just love the wonderfully surrealist images. The first hour or so of the film is pretty much perfect, combining a brutally random sense of violence with some delightfully weird fantasy images and a dark, dark sense of humour. The infamous ten minute long tracking shot of the traffic jam manages to remain entertaining throughout by linking a series of hilariously comic moments. I also especially liked the bit with the guy with the Porsche singing into a pay phone and the inexplicable appearance of Emily Brontë, who is dismissed as a fictional character and lit on fire. However, once Godard's political beliefs begin making their presence felt in an all too explicit and blatant manner, the film grinds to a halt. I was simply bored during the long monologues on America's foreign policy, which seemed a rather childish attempt by Godard to get his message across. The film never really recovers from this, as even the appearance of a group of cannibalistic revolutionaries can't bring back the same sense of black comedy that populated the first 2/3 of the film. Still, it's utterly brilliant for a majority of the time, and its bizarre images mask a mostly subtle and intelligent tirade against society and commercialism. Not for the faint-hearted, though.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A surrealist, comic nightmare of roadkill, class struggle, murder and politics

Author: R. J. (jorge.mourinha@gmail.com) from Lisbon
10 February 2003

Jean-Luc Godard's cruelly ironic portrayal of the apocalypse of Western civilization through automobile accidents and petty greed effectively marked the breaking point in his career; after this, he retreated into an overtly political militant cinema for most of the late sixties/early seventies, following some of the leads here first introduced. Whatever plot there is is slowly deconstructed and disassembled throughout the film's length, as a weekend drive by cynical bourgeois couple Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne turns into a surrealist, comic nightmare of roadkill, class struggle, murder and politics as they have to face the progressively more chaotic consequences of their blind ambition and desire for power. Strikingly photographed in long one-take tracking shots, the most celebrated of which showing an apparently endless traffic jam, the film seems to defend the revolt of the proletariat until, by the end, the bourgeois wife is down with the revolutionary Liberation Front of the Seine and Oise, in a cruelly ironic plot twist that literally underlines the cannibal side of politics. With hindsight, many say that "Week End", released in 1967, effectively announced the May '68 urban uprisings in Paris and marked the beginning of Godard's politically active phase; personally, I think that Godard sensed the winds of change and jumped on the political bandwagon as a means to find the drive for his cinema to grow. And the cool, cruel detachment he bestows on the politics on display is enough to prove that his irony has seldom been more incisive than when he's being revolutionary.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Painful

2/10
Author: NapoleonX from United Kingdom
22 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a polarising film. People either love it or despise it, it seems. Me, I despise it. The film comes from the same context as Lindsay Anderson's Oh Lucky Man, but while that is a masterpiece, this is just horrible.

Both films take Kafka's unfinished novel - America, for their inspiration and general ideal. America is a surreal story of a youth's travels through the country. Kafka uses the this character as a pure observer, one who does not change over the course of the journey (although the book is about 300 pages and still seems only a quarter finished, so we'll never know). Allowing Kafka to concentrate and comment on the absurd/surreal situations and surroundings. Oh Lucky Man follows this same template to show Britain through the eyes of Malcolm McDowell and Weekend does the same for France.

Both films are also hugely Brechtian, using various tricks and techniques to point up the fact that this is NOT REAL, this is confabulation etc. But the difference comes where Oh Lucky Man uses the constructed film to convey the absurdity of life and the class system, Weekend uses the constructed film to bludgeon us to death with ideological polemic. Because Godard goes further than Anderson in his Brechtian principles, we end up with two principle characters in which we have no investment, at all. We're forced to spend 90 minutes with them, yet we couldn't care less about them. Deliberately so. But in doing this, Godard leaves us with a film that is entirely about his own message, which, in the first half of the film is provided through relentless and overbearing symbolism, and in the second half through a series of long speeches directed to camera. Combined with unpleasant and unnecessary scenes such as the really horrible pig slaying, far worse than any of the off camera violence of the car crashes.

The end result is like listening to a student political apparatchik droning on and on and on about his views whilst repeatedly kicking you in the head so that you get the message. The problem with Brecht is, if you alienate the audience too much, then you've alienated them from what you are trying to convey. Which always seemed self evident to me.

The parts that really stick in the craw for this movie though, is the contrast between the extremely sexually explicit verbal description of the threesome at the start and the off-screen comical rape in the middle, which, even if it could be viewed as allegorical, completely destroys the film's faith in itself and it's characters, what little of it existed in the first place. It's so French with a capital F, it hurts.

Watch Oh Lucky Man instead. That is a work of genius. Weekend is a work of pretension.

Two stars, and only for the traffic jam scene and the piano scene, which are just hints at genius, although they actually make the end result more frustrating and unsatisfying as without them, this is a bad film by the worst most pretentious director in the world, with them, well it's obvious that this is a damn good technical director making the most intellectually pretentious film in the world. Somehow that's far worse.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Goddard's middle finger to just about everything

10/10
Author: TheMarquisDeSuave from Worcester, MA
5 November 2007

I risk sounding like a film snob when I say this, but I really enjoy Jean-Luc Goddard's early work. Sure, his post-narrative films (everything he made after "Week End") are pointless and dull, but his narrative films are always fascinating to watch. Often, they're so innovative they become quite entertaining. "Week End" is one of his finest from the classic Goddard period. Its one of the angriest and shockingly nihilistic movies ever made, one that seems to be giving a giant middle finger to just about everything. There's not a single likable character in the whole thing, and our two "protagonists" are among the most despicable characters ever. The opening title card proclaiming this to be a "Film found in a dump" is really accurate.

Despite the intense misanthropy on screen, its oddly quite enjoyable to watch. Because the two leads are so detestable, we really never care about the horrible crap that happens to them. What does happen to them is constantly surreal and full of revolutionary political undertones. If you aren't big on subtext, don't worry. The film is constantly hypnotizing in its sheer strangeness that if the politics are lost on you, it won't matter too much.

The direction by Goddard is pretty much what we've come to expect from him. Despite his projects being very different from each other, his direction style seemed to remain constant. Its slowly paced, occasionally aggravatingly so, but Goddard doesn't really care about that either it seems. The acting isn't anything extraordinary, but the performers act well as mouthpieces for the themes and events. "Week End" is still one of the greatest films ever made and possibly Goddard's most enjoyable production. (10/10)

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