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Customer Review

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dangers of French Bank Holidays!, April 17, 2002
This review is from: Weekend [VHS] (VHS Tape)
With influences ranging from Freud to Marx, De Sade and Eisenstein having walk-on roles and the Parisian weekend transformed into an allegorical bourgeois hell,
Week-End is one of the defining films of the 20th Century. Born out of the nouvelle vague cinema (French New Wave), this is the terrible birth that is brought to light from J.L.Godard's obsession with prophesising the destruction and decline of the West. Even after taking into account his overt political messages, Weekend still exist as one of the most technically revolutionary pieces of cinema to emerge from his studios into a blinding glare of publicity and hostility.
Not content with depicting the destruction of western commercial values, Godard disrupts the visual narrative by interspersing film titles, book titles and music onto a background of patriotic red, white and blue colours. From a personal perspective, one of the most impressive sequences is an eight minute long tracking-shot of the Parisian highway which progresses from straightforward traffic jams to car-wrecks and the inevitable symbol of multinational Capitalism, a Shell oil truck. Essentially Week-End marks the 'Maoist period' of Godard's film-making career, during which he declared that 'the only way to be a revolutionary intellectual is to give up being an intellectual.'
Starring Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne, Week-End's fabular narrative is a weekend journey from Paris to Normandy which slowly becomes an apocalyptic struggle against the French peasant revolutionaries who continually intervene to prevent the couple meeting Darc's mother in order to find out whether they have successfully poisoned her father. This emblematic quest for the Capitalist Grail is hindered by a philosophising character from Dumas, two rebels (African and Algerian) masquerading as refuse collectors and Saint-Juste, before the couple are captured on their return to Paris by the Seine-et-Loise Liberation Front, a group of cannibalistic freedom fighters.
Godard's continued affinity with politics can be witnessed in his other Maoist films, Les Chinoise (1967), Le Gai Savoir and Tout Va Bien (1972). Despite accusations of pretension, he still remains one of the most provocative and influential film makers of his and future generations, whilst his immense cinematic output can be regarded as a Marxist biography of the previous century.
What was an initially ground-breaking piece of cinema has evolved into an essential European film. Heralded by Pauline Kael in the New Yorker as 'Godard's Vision of Hell, and it ranks with the visions of the greatest' and 'somewhere between Swift and Samuel Beckett, alternatively violent and tender, humorous and cruel' (Jan Dawson, Sight and Sound) Week-end is a film that must be seen to be believed and to miss this is to miss out on one of the spectacles of 20th Century cinema.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 14, 2012 6:15:33 PM PST
Seeing how Mao slaughtered more people than Hitler did, and how Godard was a Maoist, and Mao---and Pol Pot---hated intellectuals, I guess you could also say that WEEKEND is Godard's pro-Hilter/Pol Pot movie, too.

Posted on Jul 28, 2013 12:18:04 AM PDT
John Nava says:
This is one of the most overrated French movies ever. (Okay, so BAND OF OUTSIDERS was cute, but LE PETIT SOLDAT was a rough cut and ALPHAVILLE was boring.) It is a self-indulgent travesty. Unfunny and ugly to look at: ("Who whould you rather have sex with, Mao or Johnson?") ha ha. I recall the great but hopelessly inconsistent Pauline Kael blasting EL TOPO for depicting dead animals: "these aren't made of plaster, not in Mexico," she insisted. Yet very ethnocentrically gave a free pass to the Gauls depicting needless animal slaughter for pure shock value. How this gets a Criterion edition but SORCERER is rejected is beyond my comprehension! The critics were smoking dope back in '67 and '68.
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