Weekend is a scathing late-sixties satire that presents a critique of bourgeois consumer culture as directed by the most famous member of the Nouvelle Vague, Jean-Luc Godard. The film follows a couple who travel across the French countryside in the hope of snatching away an inheritance from a dying relative. Their journey is beset by a series of increasingly gruesome events as society starts to crumble under the weight of its own consumer preoccupations. Rich in historical and literary references, Weekend is a compellingly nihilistic and surreally funny depiction of society reverting to savagery. Released less than a year before the student uprisings of May 1968, Godard’s film captures the revolutionary spirit of the time.
The screening will be introduced by Roland-Francois Lack, Senior Lecturer at University College London, where he teaches on nineteenth-century French literature and twentieth-century film. Lack’s interests include, cinema and place, explored through his website Cine-Tourist (http://www.thecinetourist.net), French and Swiss film, and francophone literature.
Prof Ian Christie
Senior Lecturer, University College London
Ian Christie is Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the co-curator of our exhibition at GRAD Unexpected Eisenstein. He co-curated Eisenstein: His Life and Art (Oxford Museum of Modern Art/Hayward Gallery, 1988). Ian also co-edited Eisenstein Rediscovered (1993) and The Film Factory: Russian and Soviet Cinema in Documents, 1896-1939 (1988). He is the author of monographs on Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger and Martin Scorsese.
The social realities underlying this dystopian fantasy are class struggle and class difference: the incompatibility of bourgeois desire and proletarian demands. The emblematic shot of this impasse is the FAUX TOGRAPHIE, the false photograph, showing bourgeois, workers and peasants posing as a group. Fantasies of class harmony are, on the evidence of Weekend, as horrific as fantasies of revolution.