The master of the French New Wave indicts consumerism and elaborates on his personal vision of Hell with this raucous, biting satire. A nasty, scheming bourgeois Parisian couple embarks on a journey through the countryside to her father’s house, where they pray for his death and a subsequent inheritance. Their trip is at first delayed, and later it is distracted by several outrageous events and characters including an apocalyptic traffic jam, a group of fictional philosophers, a couple of violent carjackers, and eventually, a gross display of cannibalism. By the time the film concludes, their seemingly simple journey has deteriorated into a freewheeling philosophical diatribe that leaves no topic unscathed. With Week End, Jean-Luc Godard reaches an impressive plateau of film originality, incorporating inter-titles, extended tracking shots, and music to add an entirely new grammar to film language. The result is a deeply challenging work that will most certainly invigorate some viewers just as much as it will as frustrate others. Standout highlights include a jarring, sexually graphic opening monologue shot with a roaming camera and blaring musical accompaniment, and the infamous traffic jam scene, where an endless parade of cars sit bumper to bumper amidst burning cars, picnics, and honking horns. The work of a true artist and pioneer, Godard’s Week End is a landmark film that hasn’t aged or lessened in impact over time.
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