Wednesday, October 05, 2005
"To destroy the horror of the bourgeoisie, you need even more horror."
A wise man by the name of Bashi recommended this film to me six years ago--I've been waiting for the DVD since. "It's pretty damn cool," Bashi told me. He was reading Emerson at the time, and paused to mention Godard. Let's say that "pretty damn cool" is most understated praise for a film as good as a Pan-galactic Garbleblaster.
Jean Luc Godard takes the rotten corpse of cinema, fucks it, eats it, and re-animates it. Wow. I don't know that Kubrick saw this, but he must have--A Clockwork Orange borrows heavily. I know undoubtedly that Gaspar Noe saw this, because a lot of what I found innovative and interesting in his stuff is in Weekend 25 years earlier. That said, this isn't as heavy as Noe's stuff, because Godard's film is a laugh riot--the only humor in Noe is that manufactured by the viewer in an attempt to distance himself from the abyss. Sort of like the old whistlin' past the graveyard bit. But Weekend's funny bits come at a price, too. Cannibalism, violence, dismay, disintegration, apathy, waste, rape. It's all here, beneath the glittery veneer of post-Enlightenment "democracy" and "progress." Two detestable bourgeois Parisiens leave the barely civilized city and head off into unimaginable chaos. Accidents, senseless traffic jams, radicals, revolutionaries, corpses--they encounter nothing but dismay and misery on their mission to try and get millions from the heroine's dying father before he can write them out of his will. Things go from bad to worse when they're involved in a car accident--as flaming corpses roll out of the rubble the wife screeches in horror over the loss of her Hermes handbag. Then we encounter a pianist who discourses on Mozart in terms of the class struggle during a pastoral idyll, an accident between a rich whore and a Communist farmer, a black African nationalist garbageman, an Algerian Arab nationalist garbageman--both of whom spout Fanon and Marx, a bit of Freud pops up, Emily Bronte wanders by, asks troubling questions, and is turned by the hero into an auto de feu. While the wife is raped randomly, her husband flags down an approaching car and asks for a lift. The lady in the car's back seat asks "Would you rather be fucked by Johnson or Mao?" When he says "Johnson, of course," she tells her driver "He's a Fascist, drive on!"
Weekend is quite an adventure!