One of cinema’s great anarchic works celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its release this week, and we’re featuring it on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. In his scathing 1967 satire Weekend, Jean-Luc Godard follows a bourgeois couple as they travel across the French countryside while civilization crashes and burns around them. Featuring a justly famous sequence in which the camera tracks along a seemingly endless traffic jam, and rich with historical and literary references, Weekend is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution, a depiction of society reverting to savagery, and—according to the credits—the end of cinema itself. Among the supplemental features accompanying the film on the Channel are a video essay by writer and filmmaker Kent Jones and archival interviews with cast and crew.
Also up this week: two eccentric found-footage works and one of Billy Wilder’s greatest films, paired with the classic romance that influenced it.
These two films, both beautifully tactile experiments with film form, make brilliant use of found footage. In his eight-minute film Light Is Calling (2004), Bill Morrison cedes the frame to a scene from a 1926 silent film as it appears on a decomposing film reel, in the process crafting a haunting meditation on the ravages of time; in his beguiling “docu-fantasia” My Winnipeg (2007), Guy Maddin mixes archival footage with his own expressionistic black-and-white material to evoke the weird and wonderful world of his hometown.
Friday Night Double Feature: The Apartment and Brief Encounter
With 2018 just around the corner, take a look back at a Hollywood classic whose climax takes place on New Year’s Eve, along with the movie that inspired it. David Lean reached his first great peak with Brief Encounter (1945), starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard as refined middle-class lovers who fail to consummate their affair in a borrowed flat when the owner unexpectedly barges in on them. Billy Wilder loved the film but wondered—who’s the guy who owns the apartment? The result: Wilder’s five-time Oscar winner The Apartment (1960), which casts Jack Lemmon as the shlemiel who gives his key to his superiors for their trysts, and Shirley MacLaine as the elevator girl and executive’s mistress he unexpectedly falls in love with.