Sunday, December 14, 2008

Response XVIII- Weekend

Frankly, I am very happy that the films I have seen of Godard, I have seen in order. A great deal of preparation is required before seeing Godard's masterpiece "Weekend." After seeing so many other Godard films, "Weekend" did not surprise me the way it did other people. In a way, I was expecting something like this from Godard. I am sure whoever reads my blogs would expect me to simply hate "Weekend" due to the fact that I like my films to tell a story, be direct and easy to follow and have as little abstraction as possible; however, I loved this film. It was very original, bold and it kept my attention. To me, this is probably Godard's most important film not only because it the last of Godard's feature films, but because this film shows Godard at the height of his politicization.

This film is a view of how Godard saw French society at the time. The film was always chaotic and it had an apocalyptic tone to it. Essentially the film is a road trip film. It is about a Parisian couple who are going to visit their parents. Along the way, they meet very interesting characters. Godard makes political statements throughout the whole film with the various people the couple meet. Godard continuously undermines the bourgeoisie and capitalism in this film. The fact that the he presents capitalist and bourgeois elements in apocalyptic settings suggests that he feels like capitalism and the middle class will bring about the collapse of society. At times, the way he pokes fun at the middle class is funny. An example of this is in the scene when a women is in a car accident yelling; instead of yelling because she is injured she is screaming in terror at the fact that her handbag is ruined.

Godard also undermines religion in this film. There is one scene where there is an auto accident that involved a bourgeois woman and a farmer. There is a huge argument between the farmer and the woman. When the couple arrive they ask them how they though the accident happened and the couple refused to answer. The farmer calls them a "Dirty Jews" and the farmer and the bourgeois woman reconcile. Here I felt like Godard was saying that religion is as a big a problem as capitalism. There is another instance where the couple is in a car with another couple and on character says that "Christianity is the refusal of all knowledge and the death of a language." Furthermore the same character tells a story about God screwing Alexandre Dumas. This scene was very peculiar, but it showed Godard's dislike for religion.

"Weekend" also included many references to the French revolution. In a cameo appearance, Jean-Pierre Leaud is dressed as Saint Just and delivers a speech. Also there are references to Thermidor, which is a month on the French Revolutionary calendar. This month is most famous for the death of Maximilien de Robespierre, the overseer of the Reign of Terror.

I do not think Godard could have portrayed chaos any better than he did in this film. The ending that included the cannibal hippies and the slaughter of a pig and a chicken was especially strange. With all the chaos, Godard proves to be prophetic and faithful to Marx. In his "Communist Manifesto," Marx says society goes through three stages: capitalism, anarchy, and communism. This film illustrates the stage that after the fall of capitalism which is anarchy.

This film was magnificent and revolutionary. Godard did a good job of shocking and offending his audiences. In the process of angering his audiences, Godard exhibited his political beliefs and introduced the world to longest tracking shot in film history in the traffic jam scene. Although many people were angered by this film, I am sure that it will be remembered as one of the greatest of Godard's films.

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