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Weekend Blu-ray Review

“Weekend” is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Set in a world gone mad, Jean-Luc Godard’s surreal French New Wave film “Weekend” follows a wealthy, cheating, married couple (Roland and Corinne) as they venture to Corinne’s parents’ home in order to seek an inheritance. Throughout their long, chaotic, meandering journey, they encounter car wrecks, dead bodies, oddball people ranting and raving about everything from politics to philosophy, and cannibal hippie murderers.

When it comes to the work of Jean-Luc Godard, you either admire him or you realize his work just isn’t for you. Personally, I have never been a particular fan of his catalogue of films. I would never outright dismiss Godard as his work is undeniably groundbreaking and influential to the cinematic arts, but his surreal, artsy style just isn’t my cup of tea.

In “Weekend,” Godard offers up some intriguing statements on politics, barbarism, death, self-absorbed behavior, violence, sex, and backstabbing, but the overall presentation is slightly maddening (even if that’s the point). There’s no doubt that “Weekend” is a thematically rich black comedy, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s all just rather pretentious. Sure, you can marvel at the artistry of the tracking shots (especially the traffic jam) and Godard’s unique visual eye, but that doesn’t quite make up for having to endure minutes upon minutes of characters wandering and ranting for a runtime that feels far longer than it really is.

Summary: While “Weekend” is certainly inventive,  Godard gets a bit too preachy and self-important for his own good (see the disturbing animal murder scene). Some film buffs and Godard aficionados may eat this film up, but it’s certainly not for everyone.

Video/Audio:

To be honest, I expected better from this transfer. The movie, which is presented in 1.66:1 1080p, is rather fuzzy and almost resembles a DVD transfer more than anything else.

The Uncompressed French Mono track (with English subtitles) is a little too quiet during some low dialogue scenes and a bit too soft during the louder scenes. The track does come to life, however, during scenes such are the aforementioned traffic jam sequence.

Extras:
* A lengthy booklet featuring an essay by author Gary Indiana, an interview excerpt with Godard, and pages from a book titled “Godard au travail: Les annes 60.”
* A U.S. and France trailer for “Weekend.”
* Interviews with cinematographer Raoul Coutard, actors Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne and assistant director Claude Miller. Discussions include film stock, politics, working with Godard, life on set, French New Wave cinema, etc.
* “On Location”- An episode of the documentary series “Seize millions de jeunes” in which director Philippe Garrel filmed Godard and crew on the set of “Weekend.” After reading and hearing so much about Godard’s directorial style, it was interesting to finally get a glimpse of Godard at work.
* “Revolutions Per Second”- A video essay by writer/director Kent Jones. Jones discusses Godard’s political views, life, and work.

November 19, 2012 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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