The best part of Weekend is Jean-Pierre Léaud singing his dialogue while in a phone booth. He then gets into a fight with leads Jean Yanne and Mireille Darc as they try to get a ride from him. Weekend is about the unreality of bourgeois life when it gets into the wild–in this case, the French countryside, which is inhabited by communal cannibals and people out of novels. Yanne and Darc, an unhappily married couple plotting each other’s murder after they kill Darc’s father for his money, are in a film, not a novel.
They soon learn the difference.
Director Godard goes for various shocks–whether through violent misogyny, quiet misogyny, violent animal cruelty, sight gags involving car accidents–and none of them ever really come across. He puts the viewer on guard immediately; when he does surprise, it’s usually because a scene is so well executed.
Maybe the best sequence in the film is when Yanne and Darc are stuck in a traffic jam on a tranquil French country road. It goes from pastoral to horrific, the constant blaring of car horns reminding the viewer not to get comfortable.
And when Yanne and Darc are on the road, Weekend might never connect (it doesn’t try), but at least it moves well. The performances are good, Godard’s almost all long shot composition is good (lovely photography from Raoul Coutard). It also isn’t forced. At least, not compared to the third act.
That third act is excruciatingly boring stuff.
Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard; director of photography, Raoul Coutard; edited by Agnès Guillemot; music by Antoine Duhamel; released by Athos Films.
Starring Mireille Darc (Corinne), Jean Yanne (Roland), Paul Gégauff (Pianist), Jean-Pierre Léaud (Saint-Just), Blandine Jeanson (Emily Bronte), Yves Afonso (Tom Thumb) and Juliet Berto (The Radical).