The Shit-Pit of Bourgeoisie Greed


“Fin du cinéma”? At the white-hot cresting moment of his epochal first phase, Jean-Luc Godard conjured this yowling, hilarious black nightmare of capitalist Armageddon, abandoning the fervent romance of his earlier films and plunging nose first into the shit-pit of bourgeoisie greed. A homicidal couple embark on a car trip to visit the woman’s sickly father, immediately entering a provincial-Dantean landscape of bloodthirsty drivers, ceaseless car wrecks, imaginary personas, cannibalistic revolutionaries, and feral consumerism. “My Hermés handbag!” Mireille Darc’s anti-heroine screams after a burning crash; the layers of social critique are so many that even Marxists, spouting rhetoric, touting rifles, and eating tourists in the woods, are roasted in the film’s furnace. Overflowing with, famously, not “blood” but “red,” it’s a high-spirited, irreverent gob in the eye, but Weekend is also one of JLG’s most energetic statements of cinematic élan, venturing a dialogue among filmmaker, movie, and the viewing world whose depth and seriousness have no real rival. Unlike most New Yorker discs, this one has some gifts, including a commentary by critic and diehard Godardiste David Sterritt and interviews with cinematographer Raoul Coutard and fanboy Mike Figgis. Also out: For Ever Mozart (1996), Godard’s career-indexing late work addressing Bosnia, nationalism, middle-class absurdism, and of course, cinema.