Some astute readers of my blog may remember that Weekend was the film we tried to see in Paris, but the Pompidou centre ballsed the screening up. It kept repeating, although I was very amused by the fact that most people in the audience did not seem to realise that something was wrong. Anyway, in preparation for the forthcoming academic year, I decided to buy four or five Godard films, and this morning I sat down to watch Weekend.
I suppose I owe my ludditry to modern, cynical, culture. I could barely make head nor tale of that film, and it struck me as a very bizarre piece of work. I was also in stitches of laughter several times, especially when one man, bearing a bush and a pistol, claimed to be the offspring of a homosexual relationship between Alexander Dumas and God. I know this film is meant to mean something, and you’re meant to think about it, but it struck me as just plain silly.
I feel like such an infidel in writing this. to be sure, there is a lot of philosophy in this film. At one point, two bin men recount the history of race relations and civilisation. Reading the subtitles, I could gleam most, but not all, of what was said, and it did seem interesting. But is this film the right place for such a discourse? That, surely, is a good question. Certainly it is post-modern in it’s mixing of media; the juxtaposition of the words and the social status of those saying them made a very astute point about class, a topic which the discourse itself touched upon. Yet by including this segment in his film, Godard breaks away with all traditional ideas of narrative structure: in what other media, be it film, book, or whatever, I the narrative broken in such a way.
Thus it is clear that Godard was playing with such concepts. Why shouldn’t a film include discourses on philosophy? Indeed, where it is written that the very concept of the shot cannot be played with as Godard does with this film, for example breaking up the flow of the music. The characters seem to acknowledge that they’re in a film even, and a silly one at that. Godard’s genius was that he played with the idea of film itself, making it quite clear that the ‘rules’ of film, unlike that of language, are extremely weak. Thus, despite at first appearing to be rather silly (would someone tell me why there were crashed cars everywhere), Weekend, like most other films by Godard, are actually rather exciting, in that they open the field of possibilities up, away from the shooting styles of Hollywood.