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Jean-Pierre Léaud: The New Wave and After

Friday, February 15, 2008
7:00 p.m. Weekend
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1967)

Godard brilliantly and satirically depicts the horrors of bourgeois ideology in this, his most Buñuelian film; L’age d’or meets Road Warrior in the spectacle of Parisians fighting for their weekend leisure. Weekend is an explosion of images and ideas screeching toward a car wreck of a plot, along the way shattering all illusions of fiction or comfortable “art.” Here we see une femme mariée—Mireille Darc—romping through car-nage and forest in her Paris fashions, throwing a tantrum over the loss of her Hermès handbag in a bloody auto wreck, confronting the Maoists of La Chinoise, who themselves have evolved beyond summer-vacation theorizing. Just after the fiery crash, enter Jean-Pierre Léaud, dressed as St. Just and calmly reading the latter’s revolutionary prose, one of many such well-placed anomalies. “What a lousy film; all we meet are crazy people,” says Emily Brontë to Tom Thumb. “This isn’t a novel,” the other replies, “it’s a film. A film is life.”

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Godard. Photographed by Raoul Coutard. With Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Yves Alfonso. (105 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From New Yorker Films)