May ’68: Film and the Revolution

Weekend 18 (S)

Weekend

Jean-Luc Godard’s scathing satire about a bourgeois couple who travel across the French countryside to collect an inheritance from a dying relative while civilisation crashes and burns around them, remains one of cinema’s great anarchic works.

Roland and Corinne Durand are driving from the city to Oinville for the weekend to visit her dying father whom they have systematically been poisoning over several years, so that they can inherit his estate. Believing he will die this weekend, they need to be present to ensure that Corinne’s mother has not altered the will in her favour. What Roland and Corinne do not know is that the other is having an affair, and that Roland in turn plans to eventually kill Corinne so that he can share the money with his mistress. But their trip turns into a nightmare, an unexpectedly surreal tale full of accidents, terrorism and civil war that can’t help but be read as a scathing commentary on their bourgeois values.

An acerbic farewell to the world of commercial cinema and the bourgeois society it buttresses, Godard’s film announced the impending void. A depiction of society reverting to savagery, and — according to its famous end credits — the end of cinema itself, Weekend is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution.