Week End

Week End

A film adrift in the cosmos.

Yay, another Jean-Luc Godard film. I’ve quickly learned that, his debut film aside, Godard and I don’t jive very well together, and frankly, I’m a little nervous to potentially revisit Breathless for fear that I might start hating it now that I’ve got a better handle on Godard as a director. Nevertheless, I’ve got three films of his left for me to see (two after this one), so I might as well press on now that the end is in sight. Week End is the last of Godard’s films to appear on the list, and probably the only one left for me that I had any sort of expectations toward, thanks to the Book. The passage in the Book made it seem like this was going to be some variety-hour-esque party of a film, hopping from obnoxiously amusing vignette to vignette, all with the best of French sensibilities when it came to humor or what might suffice in a Godard film as comedy. Well, if this is supposed to be Godard at his most comedic, then he’s about as capable of being funny as he is capable of putting together a seamless film.

The plot isn’t really important; it is mostly following a couple as they drive cross-country to try an collect on an inheritance. The plot is mostly a pretext to having random things happen to the two main characters, which would be fine if this were anyone else’s film, but this is Godard; things are never typical with Godard. Right from the beginning, Godard shows he still has the propensity of breaking rules just to break them, cutting together scattered bits of sound work and filming people against windows with them entirely in silhouette. The scene led into another silhouetted sequence where the music would frequently and alarmingly rise in volume, overtaking what the actors are saying, for seemingly no reason. Also, his habit in Masculin-Feminin of having words just appear on the screen with no context has carried over here, again, for whatever reason. Godard also seems to have a real thing for traffic accidents in this film. Probably the centerpiece of the film is a massively (and I mean MASSIVELY) long tracking shot that follows a traffic jam in its entirety, with horns a-honking and cars scooting forward abruptly, before it is finally revealed that the cause of the backup is a brutal car accident, with the bodies laid by the roadside and blood smeared all over the road. And this isn’t even the only car wreck in the film; they are apparently all over the place, and, just like everything else in the film, for seemingly no reason at all.

It’s not that the film is humorless, which it is, or even unamusing, which is too often the case. It’s that Godard as a filmmaker seems to have absolutely no clue as to what he is doing. He wants to do things, but doesn’t know how to do them correctly or even competently; yet he goes ahead and does them anyway, apparently just for the hell of it. As horrifying as it might be, this film reminded me of Andy Warhol and his movies; they exist because the director wanted to make films, talent be damned, and so he made films, regardless of whether they were even worth seeing. Godard isn’t as bad as Warhol at it, but when one of your films ends up drawing a comparison from me to Vinyl, then, to put it lightly, you have done something wrong. It’s really a shame that I had to figure out that Godard is as opaque to me as he is so soon, since I still have two more of his to watch, and now, I pretty much have exactly zero reasons to look forward to either of them. If you’re a fan of Godard, I’ll admit this will likely be rather good in your eyes, but in my eyes, I was just befuddled the whole way through.

Arbitrary Rating: 6/10

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