The Essential Movie Library #31: Weekend (1968)

Godard’s most anarchic film

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A treacherous young couple who secretly plot each other’s demise head off in their car to claim an inheritance and instead find, out on the highway, the end of civilization. Soon the cars of the infinite traffic-jam that our hyper-contemporary times have become are replaced with bodies, with the human race’s worst instincts rendering themselves the norm of behavior, with avarice and indulgence running murderously amok. What’s startling is how little Weekend feels dated: Regardless of whether he saw it onscreen, J. G. Ballard watched this movie in his dreams. 

Punk before punk rock, concluding that movies were exhausted even before he famously declared “the end of cinema” at the conclusion of this picture, French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard made movies about the movies, transforming movies in the process. It would be fitting if this were the final Essential Movie Library offering, but it’s not, because how Godardian would it be for something to be fitting? Made in 1967, Weekend was Godard’s last and most anarchic film before his vision entirely succumbed to cranky didacticism, and less than six months after its release the streets of Paris were in turmoil, the director subsequently concluding his imagination could no longer outride history.

Read them all:
The Essential Movie Library #30: Some Like It Hot
The Essential Movie Library #29: Red River
The Essential Movie Library #28: The Passenger
The Essential Movie Library #27: Singin’ in the Rain
The Essential Movie Library #26: Heat
The Essential Movie Library #25: L’Atalante
The Essential Movie Library #24: Sunrise
The Essential Movie Library #23: His Girl Friday
The Essential Movie Library #22: Black Narcissus
The Essential Movie Library #21: Blade Runner
The Essential Movie Library #20: Persona
The Essential Movie Library #19: The Shop Around the Corner
The Essential Movie Library #18: Lost Highway
The Essential Movie Library #17: Tokyo Story
The Essential Movie Library #16: 8 1/2

The Essential Movie Library #15: City Lights
The Essential Movie Library #14: Seven Samurai
The Essential Movie Library #13: Lawrence of Arabia
The Essential Movie Library #12: Citizen Kane
The Essential Movie Library #11: Jules and Jim
The Essential Movie Library #10: My Darling Clementine 
The Essential Movie Library #9: Double Indemnity 
The Essential Movie Library #8: That Obscure Object of Desire 
The Essential Movie Library #7: 2001: A Space Odyssey 
The Essential Movie Library #6: Casablanca
The Essential Movie Library #5: The Lady Eve
The Essential Movie Library #4: The Third Man 
The Essential Movie Library #3: The Passion of Joan of Arc 
The Essential Movie Library #2: Vertigo 
The Essential Movie Library #1: The Godfather Trilogy

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