Wednesday, September 17, 2014

465. Week End (1967)


Running Time: 105 minutes
Directed By: Jean-Luc Godard
Written By: Jean-Luc Godard
Main Cast: Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Paul Gegauff, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Blandine Jeanson
Click here to view the trailer

Note: Long time readers may remember January 2012 and my Godard tribute week. I was wrapping up a season of movies and had chosen Godard as my last big tribute before wrapping up another one hundred and making another TOP 20 list. You may also remember that Godard Week was never officially finished. After watching "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her", I called that film a temporary conclusion to the Godard Week festivities and vowed to one day finish it all up, when I could find "Week End". Well, I've finally found it and I now present the conclusion to Godard Week...nearly three years later...

GODARD WEEK: PART EIGHT (A PERMANENT CONCLUSION)

Boy oh boy, it only took three years but I somehow managed to forget how alienating Godard films can be. When thinking back to Godard I remember a few things: the unique and original, although ultimately not for me qualities of the sci-fi/noir, yet very French/Godardian ALPHAVILLE; that shot of Anna Karina sitting in a (was it a diner?), the city of Paris sprawled out over her shoulder in VIVRE SA VIE and pretty much the entirety of CONTEMPT, a film that got the honor of having a shot from it grace the top of my blog for years now. I will say that I've never flip flopped so much on one particular man's work as I do on that of Godard. I can remember CONTEMPT so well and still count it as one of the best films I've been introduced to via THE BOOK. While at the same time finding films like PIERROT LE FOU and this one, WEEKEND, to be incredibly mind numbing. You could also take for instance films like ALPHAVILLE, MASCULINE-FEMININE and 2 or 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER and I find those films to be very average, possessing flecks of brilliance, yet ultimately not appealing to me. So, to sum up my feelings on Godard, I really run the gamut of opinions: some I love, some I hate and others I found downright average. In certain circles, I could talk about his work in a good light, at other times I could really bash him. He was both brilliant and awful all in the same breath. In a way he made too many statements (mostly political ones and ones that had to do with class), while on the other hand he knew how to tell a story and knew how to write dialogue. He COULD do everything right, yet sometimes manage to do EVERYTHING wrong. Wow, what a director...and I don't know if I mean that in a bad way or a good way.

Anyway...

This is the scene I was talking about with Corinne detailing a menage a trois she had with another couple. Just brilliant dialogue and the way Godard framed the actors and made use of the shadows is brilliant.

I'll do my best to sum up this film for you. It starts out by introducing us to a couple: Corinne (Darc) and Roland (Yanne), who are both having affairs. Corinne talks to her MISTERess (is there a proper name for the male cheating partner of a woman?) and the two wish that Roland would die. Roland talks to his mistress and the two plot to get money out of Corinne, which she'll inherit from her father who is apparently dying, by killing her once she's got the dough. From there, we go to a ten to fifteen minute scene of Corinne sitting on a desk, while a man sits behind the desk (couldn't tell if it was her husband or her lover) and listens to her tell him about a menage a trois  she had with a man named Paul and his wife Monique. It goes into graphic detail of the three's sexual escapades, but is actually the best scene in the whole film. The lighting silhouettes the actor and the actress, as Corinne, hesitant but determined, spills her story. From there, the weekend of the title begins, as Corinne and Roland hit the road, headed to her father and mother's to get the inheritance. When the trip begins, the two hit a traffic jam, which is being caused by multiple accidents on a country road. Here, the tone changes from a serious film (a couple, both cheating, on their way to get inheritance from a dying father) to silly, as we view many oddities during the car crash, including two drivers who have gotten out of their car to strike up a game of chess on the road, while they wait. THE BOOK tells me that this tracking shot of the car wreck is a very famous film in the history of cinema and I'll give it that, it was pretty decent. However, from here, the film slowly started to lose me until I was totally tapping out by the midway point and had completely lost interest by the end. The film contains various monologues expressing Godard's political views and is, at times, downright weird. The characters admitting they're part of a film, running into Emily Bronte in the woods, burning up in car crashes and then being fine in the next chapter. Oh yes, the film is broken down into many little episodes with handy dandy little title cards breaking up the action.


I will never like this film. You know how I always say I'd give any film two chances? Well, I'd give WEEK END two chances to, but I guarantee I'd still hate it after two viewings. There are things contained in this movie that I'll never be able to grasp - let's just say it - because I'm not smart enough. There's one point where someone in a passing car asks Roland if he preferred Johnson or Mao, to which he replies, "Johnson, of course!". The driver and passenger of the car call him a fascist and drive away. I have NO IDEA what that means. And I'm not ashamed (although maybe I should be) to admit that it's simply because I'm just not brainy enough to get those things. I'm sure that was a joke, but one that I'll never be laughing at. And the thing is, I just don't care enough to put in the work to find out what it means. I'd rather be oblivious and go one with my life, than to spend a minute finding out what this tripe is trying to tell me. I'm sure there's a brilliant movie in there somewhere and if you life it, good for you - you're probably smarter than me. But I'll stick with things that I enjoy, rather than movies that make powerful statements and political exclamations.


RATING: 2/10  There's really not much else to say. I've said why I didn't like the film, I even included a paragraph summing up my final feelings on Godard. I would see more of his films, but I would approach them all with caution. I'm sure there are others that I would love and others that I would absolutely despise, but if any other resemble the quality of CONTEMPT, it's a gamble worth taking.

MOVIES WATCHED: 849
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 152

September 17, 2014  11:14am

6 comments:

  1. I liked this movie, but I can totally understand someone not liking it at all. This is a strange film that worked for me, but I accept all criticism against it. The film actually has a lot of problems in terms of narrative, but for some reason it just mostly worked for me. Keep up the good work on your reviews.

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    1. I've liked plenty of movies where I could totally see both yay and nay viewpoints, so I definitely get what you're saying.

      Thanks for swinging by Larry, always a welcome voice on the blog.

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  2. Sorry Andrew.. a notable delay in getting a reply to this... I wanted to think of something useful to add...

    But I think I've failed.

    A bit like you.. I feel I have failed to 'get into' Godard.
    I mean, he is supposed to be one of the greats.. full of intelligent meaning..Sure, I see some good moments - at times- but.. so often lost in .. deliberate oddness? Obscurity for the sake of it?
    I understand why so many just write it all off with a dismissive cry of 'pretentious'. Well, I think that can be too easy.. and judgemental, but sometimes.. it is invited.
    This was far from the worst Godard I've sat through.. Main prize for that goes to the dreaded 'Histoires(s) du Cinema'.. but I'm afraid I got very little from it.
    I've said this before..my loss.. possibly my fault, but .. a regretful no fromme..

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    1. Oh geez that "Histories du Cinema" is on my next list! Isn't it in like eight parts? Now I'm scared.

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    2. Be afraid, be very afraid..
      Yes, several parts, but they are (mostly) mercifully fairly short.
      But don't take my word for it.. Larry.. perhaps you can offer Andrew some hope.
      The mention of 'next list' with that on it implies the TSPDT?

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    3. the "Next list" is actually a combination of several different lists, all movies that weren't on the BOOK list. It combines the TSPDT, the NY Times 1000 list and a couple of other movies thrown in for good measure.

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