Home > Uncategorized > Sunday Screening #8: Weekend

Sunday Screening #8: Weekend

Perhaps not as epic as the last video… OK, it gave me an excuse to goof around a little, but I think there is something to be gained from the experience.  Again, no Weekend trailer, so we’ll all be going into it a little blind.  Enjoy!

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 8, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Another amazing video-troduction sir! Loved the jump-cuts. One of my first films had a scene that the Co-director wanted to do with lots of jump-cuts, only he didn’t tell me this, so when we cut it, most of them didn’t work the way you’d want. There wasn’t enough movement/difference between the shots. Maybe I’ll make it available online at some point.

  2. January 10, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Thanks, buddy. It’s not too bad for throwing it together in two days, though sort of just non sequitor-esque. That seems strange that the director wouldn’t tell you about the jump cuts. What was your capacity on the film?

    • January 11, 2010 at 9:38 AM

      Ummm…Co-director, Camera-operator, Editor…so basically I REALLY needed to know. I think it was more that he couldn’t describe it in a way that I understood. I think that parts of that scene turned out ok. But it would have been better if I knew what he was envisioning pre-shoot.

  3. January 10, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Well done. I especially enjoyed the bike-cam.

    Despite the fact I placed it at the top of my Netflix queue, the movie in my #2 spot is on its way to me instead. That probably means that it wasn’t immediately available (although it is now). So, unfortunately, I won’t be able to join the discussion until later in the week. That’s right, I’m on an unlimited monthly one-at-a-time Netflix plan. ‘Cuz I’m cheap.

  4. January 10, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    I’m in the same boat, but I’m going to try to get to the library to see if I can’t grab the movie for tomorrow morning. I think we may have tapped Netflix’ supply of Weekend and moved it to “short wait.”

  5. LMM
    January 11, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    I will be receiving mine hopefully by Weds (from Netflicks), and will also joining later this week. However, from the looks of it, it might be later since we’re all in the same boat.

  6. January 11, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    I’m the one who got the DVD, but didn’t get a chance to watch it yesterday. Boo me.

  7. January 11, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Inspired by Nate’s idea, I checked to see if my local library has the film and unfortunately they don’t. Clearly not Godard enthusiasts.

    • January 11, 2010 at 2:18 PM

      No libraries near me have it, though some in adjacent towns do. I just won’t be making it out there. Time to check the video store…

  8. January 12, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    So, what I learned from this situation is that if we are planning on something slightly obscure, we should tell people way ahead of time. I should have Weekend by Thursday, I hope. If not, I’ll have some catching up to do.

  9. LMM
    January 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    I finally got a chance to watch it last night. And wow.

    I love Breathless. I think that was a beautiful movie, and of course one of the first you watch in film school, along with The Bicycle Thief.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen a French New Wave film so I’m slightly out of practice. Upon first viewing, I’m not a fan of this movie.
    With that said, I love some of the shots throughout this film.

    The tracking shot of them first leaving, the traffic jam, with the car horns…as annoying as the horns were for 10 minutes, I loved it. I thought it was brilliant. He was able to make a very emotional, character filled scene by using nothing but honks. (and it was sort of awesome seeing the cool looking 60s European cars).

    The dead bodies and car accidents throughout the movie sort of became ridiculous. Granted, since its such a politically charged film, that was probably the point. All I kept thinking was I don’t want to drive in France.

    I also loved some of the conversation shots. For example: there’s a shot when the couple are talking in the car and the camera is on the back of Corinne’s head, you don’t see her face or Roland’s reaction shot. Know the rules to break them…he definitely did that and I thought it was great.
    There’s another scene after they get car-jacked that you have the camera in front, shooting through the window. No reaction shots, just straight, blurred view from the reflections on the window. Non-traditional and I loved it.

    Will someone please explain to me the purpose of the interview in the beginning. It was a very interesting scene, in the way it was shot and the visuals I kept getting, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I was just completely confused by the inclusion.

    I understand that this, his films in general, was a very politically charged film, but I was a bit bothered by the long say-everything-you-exactly-mean conversations. Maybe I’m too modern, but I like the thinking political movies. However, it is Godard at his best, and there’s not question how he feels.

    In short, I enjoyed watching this film for the aesthetic, but was a bit confused on the content. Then again, like I said, it’s been a while for that sort of movie for me.

    • January 20, 2010 at 11:37 PM

      I think this is a particularly challenging New Wave film. From what I could tell, it has more in common with his overtly political work than his prior work, though I’ve only seen a little Godard. Certainly his New Wave compatriots didn’t go off like Godard did.

      It’s tough to assess a film like this. When you say, “The dead bodies and car accidents throughout the movie sort of became ridiculous. Granted, since its such a politically charged film, that was probably the point.” I want to agree with you. But then I question whether my inclination to agree is based on Godard’s reputation. Maybe he was just messing with us all and it means nothing. I doubt that, but I always think about that when dealing with a respected director.

      Is the interview the poorly lit discussion of her night of sex? I didn’t really follow that either. I thought Godard was just trying to make what would be incredibly titillating incredibly dull. Dashing conventions and that (which you talk about with his framing).

      My problem with films like this (again, as you say, “watching this film for the aesthetic”) is I don’t feel that they need to be an hour and a half. But, once again, sometimes tests of duration are the point. Sometimes studying film is frustrating…

  10. January 20, 2010 at 11:31 PM

    Sorry for not writing sooner, but I didn’t want to read LMM’s post before I saw the film and it came the same day I left for a weekend home, so I couldn’t catch up until now.

    I’d only seen Breathless and a few post-Weekend political films of Godard’s before Weekend, and it definitely has more in common with the late films than with Breathless. My reaction to Weekend was largely, “Godard is fucking with the audience.” It plays like a bunch of friends went out and just shot what they wrote the night before, regardless of quality (of course, that’s not true, or else they wouldn’t have been able to set up all of the destroyed cars). It reminds me of the Structuralist avant garde movement, and I don’t think I’m far off if Wikipedia is to be believed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structuralist_film_theory).

    The film is a tax on the viewer’s patience and tolerance. There were several times I was tempted to turn it off, but I powered through (admittedly, slightly distracted). The notes I took early in the film really have no bearing on anything that played out, which is frustrating, but that seems to be the idea of the film. I asked myself what Weekend is about and all I came up with was materialism. Anyone else have any thoughts?

    There are the weird meta-moments where the main characters acknowledge that they’re in a film, though they are never the ones to acknowledge the camera. It’s definitely a film designed to be discussed, but I feel like we all will come out of it feeling the same way. I really don’t have much interest in digging further since it’s so obtuse. Then again, my repeat viewing of Godard’s Tout va bien was much more rewarding (though I still don’t want to watch it yet again).

    I was glad to see a small thread on IMDB talking about the film being Monty Python-esque because I got that vibe, as well, just less funny. Weekend is essentially a bunch of skits with a wraparound plot that doesn’t matter, anyway.

    One thing I was pleased to discover was that Godard cut cards and scenes into his tracking shots. I didn’t know he did that, so the fact that I did that on my own in the video makes me very happy.

    Finally, in the long accident tracking shot, you can see the camera crew a few times. Did anyone else think a crew member was waving at the camera the first time you see them?

  11. January 21, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Well, Netflix pulled through and finally delivered Weekend today. While I can’t really say that it was worth the wait, I’m still glad I watched it because of the thoughts it provoked.

    I just couldn’t get into this movie. I really tried. The traffic jam tracking shot was interesting due to its length (and I’m sure very difficult to stage…was the camera crew visible in the reflection of the car windows?), but after that, I just lost total interest in what was happening. I always found myself outside the movie, examining it coldly like a freakish specimen, instead of getting really “inside” it.

    However, Weekend did make me think about movies in a very fundamental way, forcing me to examine whether I had any unfair, narrow-minded biases about what a movie should or shouldn’t do. It helped confirm for me that I’ve been heavily conditioned and influenced by narrative-based cinema, as that is what I automatically expect in a movie: a recognizable story with characters.

    If a narrative-based film has a disjointed, hard-to-follow storyline, most would consider that a flaw and criticize it for that. But this movie has no narrative, so it is all about being disjointed and hard to follow – does it get a free pass, so to speak, because it was intended to be that way? Are there rules, even general ones, to what one can and can’t do in a movie? Can there be a definition for what a movie is, what it should be like? Do filmmakers have any responsibility to try to communicate effectively to an audience of filmgoers? These and other questions rattled my brain as I watched Weekend, and that is probably the best thing I can say about it.

    With my narrative-based expectations in mind, the movie felt to me like a random collection of ideas that Godard finds interesting, thrown on the screen together for people to react to like lab rats. Well, my own reaction is that without some kind of vaguely recognizable structure or form, there are no “rules”, so you can film pretty much any random thing you want and call it a movie. Any two scenes in Weekend could have been switched and nothing much would change in terms of the film’s overall effect.

    In fact, all of the scenes could have been switched around and I honestly think the effect would’ve been largely unchanged. The film could have ended an hour early, or gone on for another hour – would that have really changed anything, either? With films like Weekend, the very meaning of what a movie is dissolves, and anything goes.

    This may have been part of Godard’s obscure intentions, but I guess that’s where my bias comes in. I think a movie is more successful and effective if it’s realized within boundaries, constraints. Telling a story does that automatically, and is a perfect form for filmmakers to communicate ideas, emotions, and experiences to an audience.

    Obviously, Godard was not interested in telling a story, and I, as a viewer, was interested in being told one. Maybe it just comes down to that.

    • January 22, 2010 at 2:57 PM

      I just thought I should tell you that Netflix dug out a copy from WAY across the country just to send to me. I’m guess I’m more special than you.

      I’m forgetting where I read this, and it would be easy enough to find out, but I’m lazy, but I’m pretty sure Godard referred to Weekend as “the end of cinema” or something like that (maybe someone said it here). I’d say his massive deconstruction of expectations and pretty much what it is to tell a story represents that pretty well.

      I agree with everyone that the film challenges the idea of “Do filmmakers have any responsibility to try to communicate effectively to an audience of filmgoers,” as John put it. It also challenges the idea of do the viewers have a responsibility to the filmmaker to make the effort to understand? Certainly, it’s not fair to write off a film just because you didn’t really understand it, so it’s got to be bad, but a director can’t take for granted his audience will make the leap. However, most film viewers are COMPLETELY passive when they watch a movie. They don’t want to think at all, so this seems like the logical counterpoint to that mentality. Godard is forcing the viewer to find meaning and substance.

      Maybe that’s what the film is really about: the audience-director relationship. Yes, there are all of those political diatribes, but they are presented in such a way that makes them impossible to listen to or comprehend. I definitely feel myself respecting the film more reading your comments, though I really don’t want to watch it again.

      • January 27, 2010 at 1:33 PM

        Just to play devil’s advocate, I’d argue that you don’t have to make your movie virtually incomprehensible, or open to an infinite number of interpretations, to use it as a counterpoint against movies that stimulate zero thought because they are so straightforward and obvious. It’s just going to the opposite extreme, which is no better. But if the movie is meant to be nothing more than a big practical joke, I guess it just comes down to whether you can appreciate that kind of thing. With this film, it just felt like to me that Godard threw up his hands and said, “Whatever. Good luck making any sense of this!” That attitude I don’t really dig.

        • January 27, 2010 at 11:22 PM

          I agree with that to some extent. My only real response is that since no one had really done anything like this (at least in feature form, I don’t want the avant garde-ists to jump down my throat), we really don’t know how far this can be taken. It’s so extreme as is and we still don’t really know where it falls on the scale from spoon-feeding films to deliberately obtuse films.

          However, from what I know about Godard, it wouldn’t surprise me if his attitude was “good luck making any sense of this!” as you say, John.

  12. LMM
    January 22, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    You guys are awesome. You covered everything that I felt about this movie, of course you said it more eloquently.

    I almost felt like I should of liked this movie because it was so off the wall and I’m a film snob/student. That thought fits with what you, Johnwm1, said with reevaluating what you consider watchable art.
    I pushed through it as well, and lost focus, even dozed off a bit, during the movie, however I don’t feel like I missed anything. It was a movie that was thrown together, making a statement on his views, and didn’t care if it what rules he broke.

    In that sense, I admire Goddard. He had the balls to “F the police” and it’s still considered a film gem, or at least one that should be studied.

    Going back to reevaluating my movie watching habits, it made me hate the Hollywood produced movies a little bit more. I felt that it’s those cranked out flat movies that has made me expect a certain type of movie.
    However, it also made me realize that my love for foreign films is well deserved. For example, In The Mood For Love. I love this movie. It’s a beautiful love story, yet you don’t see the love story unfold physically. This is a movie; it tells a story, but doesn’t hold your hand through it.

    Maybe that was his intention with Weekend. If thats the case, it makes me like the movie a little bit more. A thinking movie, that you didn’t know you were thinking about.

    • January 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

      I just wanted to acknowledge that In the Mood for Love is awesome!

      And I’m sorry my comment pushed your yours down even though yours was earlier. I don’t know how the comments always work…

  13. LMM
    January 22, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    I didn’t even notice that my comments were pushed down. No worries.

    This movie has definitely opened my eyes to film conversations and film viewings.
    Who knows what it’s suppose to mean. There are so many good topics that it could be addressing.
    It also makes you wonder if he meant for all these conversations, but meant nothing from the story. He could of very well thrown the story together, and is laughing to himself when people try to find a meaning out of the smallest thing. Sort of playing with this film status as an innovative director. Having fun with the audience and what they try to get out of film. Just in the way that studio films have no thought and are just fun movies. Or I could be going too much into it.

    I do agree though, I don’t think I would want to, or need, to see this again.

    And yes, ITMFL is an amazing movie! Along with Talk To Her (Habla Con Ella), I am breathless after screening. (pun not intended).

  14. January 23, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    I know Paul had trouble with the film and fell asleep, so I’d like to hear (or read) his assessment.

    Paul…?

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