This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard is one of cinema’s great anarchic works.
Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple, Corinne (Mireille Darc) and Roland (Jean Yanne) journey across the French countryside in their Facel convertible to the rural town of Oinville while civilisation crashes and burns around them – featuring one of the most famous shots in cinema in which the camera tracks along a seemingly endless traffic jam for ten minutes or so.
This is no ordinary gridlock – Godard’s nightmarish but hilarious version includes zoo animals, boats, the occasional picnic, and a hell of a lot of blood.
Back on the road again, Corinne and Roland stop during a rainstorm beside yet another battered automobile, where a girl is hitchhiking. As she climbs into the convertible, her boyfriend appears brandishing a pistol and commandeers the car. He introduces himself as “the son of God and Alexander Dumas” and offers to perform a miracle if Roland will drive him to London.
Roland asks if he can have a hotel in Miami Beach. Corinne asks if she can become a real blonde or have a weekend with James Bond. “You assholes don’t deserve a miracle,” he replies.
Corinne and Roland next encounter a poet who recites from notes taped to his costume and an ethereal girl named Miss Bronte. They ask directions to Oinville but are answered with fragments of verse from the poet and syllogisms from his companion.
At this point, Roland throws up his hands and says “this is some hell of a movie; all you meet are sick people”. “You didn’t have to take the part,” Corinne adds.
Weekend is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution and a depiction of society reverting to savagery. It’s also the last film the director made before France was seized by the student uprising and general strike of May 1968.
Le chef du Front de Libération de la Seine et Oise