Weekend (1967 film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Le weekend is a 1967 black comedy film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne, both of whom were mainstream French TV stars. Jean-Pierre Léaud, iconic comic star of numerous French New Wave films including Truffaut's Les Quatre Cent Coups (The Four Hundred Blows) and Godard's earlier Masculin, féminin, also appears in two roles. Raoul Coutard served as cinematographer.
A bourgeois French married couple, Roland (Jean Yanne) and Corinne (Mireille Darc), both have secret lovers and are both planning each other's murder. They set out by car for Corinne's parents' home in the country to secure her inheritance from her dying father, by murdering him, if necessary.
The trip becomes a chaotically picaresque journey through a French countryside populated by bizarre characters and punctuated by violent car accidents. After their own car is destroyed, the characters wander through a series of vignettes involving class struggle and figures from literature and history, creating an overall impression of a humorous, beautiful, but also senseless and frightening world. Godard's trademark intertitles intrude suddenly, cutting off and commenting on the action and the process of film viewing itself. For example, two graphics near the beginning announce that you're watching 'a film adrift in the cosmos' and 'a film found on a scrap heap'.
The film is particularly well known for a single tracking shot that lasts for over 8 minutes. The shot follows a car slowly moving through a traffic jam. After eight minutes, the cause is discovered: a family has been in a car accident and their bodies lie across the road. It is a stark contrast to the beeping horns and frustrated drivers waiting to get by.
Corinne and Roland eventually arrive at her parents' place, only to find that her father has died and her mother is refusing them a share of the spoils. They kill her and set off on the road again, only to fall into the hands of a group of hippie revolutionaries supporting themselves through theft and cannibalism, in whose encampment the film ends.