In Godard's previous work, for all its experimentation, there was often a sense of play, and even charm; those films offered pleasures to an audience that was willing to go beyond classical conventions, they were in fact often highly entertaining. As fascinating as Weekend is, it can't be called entertaining. The viewer may even feel that he or she is engaged in a kind of combat with the director; to accept Godard's view as expressed here would lead to despair. And yet, much of the underlying critique of a complacent consumer society is hard to discount. But to engage with the film is to question a lot of assumptions which make life in a western capitalist society comfortable. In this respect, Weekend is a far more powerful political work than many of the didactic films that would follow it.
The disc: Criterion's new DVD release of Weekend is, given the deliberately degraded look of much of the photography, garishly colorful in an anamorphic 1.66:1 transfer; the original French mono soundtrack is as harsh and often irritating as Godard intended.
The supplements include brief archival interviews with Yanne and Darc; a lengthy interview with cinematographer Raoul Coutard about his relationship with Godard and the making of the film; and an interview with assistant director Claude Miller which offers some fascinating insights into Godard's working process – a combination of improvisation and detailed planning. There is also a short excerpt from French television which shows Godard directing on location, and a lengthy video essay on Godard by Kent Jones, which is too scattered to be really satisfying, although he offers some useful insights into the director's art. The accompanying booklet has a brief essay by Gary Giddings and excerpts from a contemporary interview with Godard and comments from some of his collaborators.