Weekend


1h 45m 1968
Weekend

Brief Synopsis

A couple's weekend vacation lands them in the middle of a society's collapse.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adventure
Political
Experimental
Foreign
Satire
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 30 Sep 1968
Production Company
Ascot Cineraid; Comacico; Copernic Films; Lira Films
Distribution Company
Grove Press
Country
France
Location
Paris, France

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

Despite their often-expressed desire to kill each other, an upper middle-class Parisian couple, Corinne and Roland, decide to visit Corinne's wealthy mother one weekend in order to get some money. Before their departure, Corinne has a session with her analyst and describes the details of a recent orgiastic experience. Once on the road, the couple unfeelingly make their way through a seemingly endless traffic jam of battered, burning cars and mutilated bodies. They then encounter a series of real and imaginary characters: an Algerian garbage collector who speaks on behalf of black power, and his partner, an American Negro; a pianist performing Mozart in a farmyard; a hitchhiker hippie who identifies himself as Joseph Balsamo (the notorious charlatan Alessandro di Cagliostro of 18th century Europe), Saint-Just, Emily Brontë (whom the couple set afire), and Tom Thumb. When the hippie ("the son of God and Alexandre Dumas") offers to reward Corinne and Roland for giving him a lift, the couple ask for a new sports car, natural blonde hair, and a weekend with James Bond. Instead, the hippie transforms some wrecked automobiles into a flock of sheep. When the couple finally reach their destination, they brutally murder Corinne's mother because she refuses to give them any money. On their way home, they are captured by a tribe of primitive anarchists dedicated to waging guerrilla war against their natural enemy, the bourgeoisie. Although Roland is killed, Corinne joins the band and ends her first day by eating a cannibal stew--fully aware that it contains her husband's remains.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adventure
Political
Experimental
Foreign
Satire
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 30 Sep 1968
Production Company
Ascot Cineraid; Comacico; Copernic Films; Lira Films
Distribution Company
Grove Press
Country
France
Location
Paris, France

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Articles

Weekend -


One of the key art house films of the 1960s and easily one of the most anarchic, Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend (1967), or Week End if you saw it in Europe, is largely known today to film students and foreign film buffs for its legendary, astonishingly protracted single take through the worst traffic jam in film history. However, there's plenty more to surprise and engage in this acerbic portrayal of a society on its last legs - a feeling that wasn't exactly out of place during the turbulent era in which the film was released.

This film marked Godard's thirteenth collaboration with the French New Wave's most celebrated cinematographer, Raoul Coutard (both men would receive Honorary Academy Awards in the new millennium), and it continued their bold experimentation with color that had begun with the CinemaScope delicacy Contempt (1963) and reached delirious heights with the eyeball-searing Pierrot le Fou (1965). Studded with color-driven symbolism and allusions to literature, philosophy, and the Reign of Terror following the French Revolution, the film ("narrative" seems like an insufficient word here) charts the hallucinatory journey of couple Corinne (Mireille Darc) and Roland (Jean Yanne) on a weekend trip out of the city for some quiet time in the countryside, which turns out to be just the opposite. The pair seems to be plotting to kill most of their family members as well as each other, but a thriller this most definitely is not. Revolutionaries, catastrophic car wrecks, and dead bodies are just a few of the obstacles faced by the characters and, by extension, the viewer, who is also confronted with diatribes about the evils of colonial exploitation (the most memorable delivered in true Godardian fashion over a lengthy scene of two men scarfing down sandwiches).

Boasting a sense of disgust for Western society that wouldn't be matched again until the early films of John Waters, Weekend still holds on to some semblance of a natural progression of scenes and ideas (something he largely abandoned for a few films after this) and features a pair of familiar faces at its heart - or at least faces that would become familiar to international audiences over the ensuing decade. Darc had enjoyed the more notable career to this point with significant roles in Roger Vadim's Please, Not Now! (1961) and Georges Lautner's The Great Spy Chase (1964), with this film marking one of four leading roles she enjoyed in French cinemas in 1967 (along with Lautner's Sorrel Flower and La grande sauterelle and Nicolas Gessner's The Blonde from Peking).

More of an unknown quantity at the time, Yanne had slowly worked his way up through bit roles before teaming up with director Claude Chabrol in Line of Demarcation (1966); the director would go on to provide Yanne with two of his finest roles in This Man Must Die (1969) and the astonishing Le Boucher (1970). He continued to work busily in French films until his death in 2003, with prestigious projects in his later years including Indochine (1992), The Horseman on the Roof (1995), and Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001).

Still jolting today for modern viewers who may not be aware of all of its cultural and political undertones, Weekend thankfully didn't prove to be the "end of cinema" promised in its final few seconds. Perhaps the best recent summation of it came from filmmaker Ben Wheatley of Free Fire (2016) and Kill List (2011) fame, who noted about his first viewing, "I almost felt like I'd had the stack of cards in my head rearranged and reprogrammed after watching that film. In so many moments in it--I didn't understand much of it, I probably still don't understand much of it--but what I did understand I really liked. Just the boldness of it, the jump cuts, that you could do whatever you wanted, that you could be silly but serious at the same time. And visually it didn't look like anything else I'd ever seen." You could say something similar about many Godard films, of course, but this particular example managed to drill into the public consciousness and, for discerning film fans, continues to refuse to leave.

By: Nathaniel Thompson
Weekend -

Weekend -

One of the key art house films of the 1960s and easily one of the most anarchic, Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend (1967), or Week End if you saw it in Europe, is largely known today to film students and foreign film buffs for its legendary, astonishingly protracted single take through the worst traffic jam in film history. However, there's plenty more to surprise and engage in this acerbic portrayal of a society on its last legs - a feeling that wasn't exactly out of place during the turbulent era in which the film was released. This film marked Godard's thirteenth collaboration with the French New Wave's most celebrated cinematographer, Raoul Coutard (both men would receive Honorary Academy Awards in the new millennium), and it continued their bold experimentation with color that had begun with the CinemaScope delicacy Contempt (1963) and reached delirious heights with the eyeball-searing Pierrot le Fou (1965). Studded with color-driven symbolism and allusions to literature, philosophy, and the Reign of Terror following the French Revolution, the film ("narrative" seems like an insufficient word here) charts the hallucinatory journey of couple Corinne (Mireille Darc) and Roland (Jean Yanne) on a weekend trip out of the city for some quiet time in the countryside, which turns out to be just the opposite. The pair seems to be plotting to kill most of their family members as well as each other, but a thriller this most definitely is not. Revolutionaries, catastrophic car wrecks, and dead bodies are just a few of the obstacles faced by the characters and, by extension, the viewer, who is also confronted with diatribes about the evils of colonial exploitation (the most memorable delivered in true Godardian fashion over a lengthy scene of two men scarfing down sandwiches). Boasting a sense of disgust for Western society that wouldn't be matched again until the early films of John Waters, Weekend still holds on to some semblance of a natural progression of scenes and ideas (something he largely abandoned for a few films after this) and features a pair of familiar faces at its heart - or at least faces that would become familiar to international audiences over the ensuing decade. Darc had enjoyed the more notable career to this point with significant roles in Roger Vadim's Please, Not Now! (1961) and Georges Lautner's The Great Spy Chase (1964), with this film marking one of four leading roles she enjoyed in French cinemas in 1967 (along with Lautner's Sorrel Flower and La grande sauterelle and Nicolas Gessner's The Blonde from Peking). More of an unknown quantity at the time, Yanne had slowly worked his way up through bit roles before teaming up with director Claude Chabrol in Line of Demarcation (1966); the director would go on to provide Yanne with two of his finest roles in This Man Must Die (1969) and the astonishing Le Boucher (1970). He continued to work busily in French films until his death in 2003, with prestigious projects in his later years including Indochine (1992), The Horseman on the Roof (1995), and Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001). Still jolting today for modern viewers who may not be aware of all of its cultural and political undertones, Weekend thankfully didn't prove to be the "end of cinema" promised in its final few seconds. Perhaps the best recent summation of it came from filmmaker Ben Wheatley of Free Fire (2016) and Kill List (2011) fame, who noted about his first viewing, "I almost felt like I'd had the stack of cards in my head rearranged and reprogrammed after watching that film. In so many moments in it--I didn't understand much of it, I probably still don't understand much of it--but what I did understand I really liked. Just the boldness of it, the jump cuts, that you could do whatever you wanted, that you could be silly but serious at the same time. And visually it didn't look like anything else I'd ever seen." You could say something similar about many Godard films, of course, but this particular example managed to drill into the public consciousness and, for discerning film fans, continues to refuse to leave. By: Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

I am here to inform these modern times of the grammatical era's end and the beginning of flamboyance especially in cinema.
- Joesph Balsam
Didn't you heard what he said? Marx says we're all brothers!
- Corinne
Marx didn't said that. Some other communist said that. Jesus said that.
- Roland
What a rotten film. All we meet are crazy people.
- Roland

Trivia

Notes

Opened in Paris in December 1967 as Le Week-end; running time: 95 min.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1968

Released in United States 2001

Released in United States December 29, 1967

Released in United States Fall September 30, 1968

Released in United States January 2001

Released in United States September 27, 1968

Re-released in United States on Video November 19, 1996

Shown at 1968 Berlin Film Festival.

Shown at New York Film Festival September 27, 1968.

Shown at the National Film Theatre in London, England as part of a special two-month program dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard, June 1 - July 31, 2001.

Shot September-October 1967.

Released in United States 1968 (Shown at 1968 Berlin Film Festival.)

Released in United States 2001 (Shown at the National Film Theatre in London, England as part of a special two-month program dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard, June 1 - July 31, 2001.)

Released in United States January 2001 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade Theater) January 5-11, 2001.)

Released in United States September 27, 1968 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 27, 1968.)

Released in United States Fall September 30, 1968

Released in United States December 29, 1967 (Premiered in Paris December 29, 1967.)

Re-released in United States on Video November 19, 1996