A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
A supposedly-idyllic weekend trip to the countryside turns into an endless nightmare of traffic jams, revolution, cannibalism, and murder as French bourgeois society starts to collapse under the weight of its own consumer preoccupations.Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
For the original U.S. theatrical release, distributor Grove Press dubbed the monologues (the garbagemen's piece on black revolution and the hippie's "ocean" poem) into English, although the rest of the film was in the original French with subtitles. A short credits sequence was also appended to the end of the film. See more »
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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