WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
I've not seen all of Jean-Luc Godard's films, but of those I have seen this is my favorite. The narrative concerns a conventional, middle class, married couple who conspire to take a weekend trip to kill the wife's parents for money.
The car trip taken by the couple is comprised of a series of disastrous, improbable, and perplexing events. Art terrorists, thieves, rapists, and Marxist revolutionaries assail the couple at all turns. France is being overrun by weirdos! Bloody, flaming car (and plane!) crashes are everywhere. Violent demise is at every turn.
In the movie is a famous traffic jam scene that employed what was, up until the time of this movie's making, the longest dolly ever made. The scene is absurd, comical, and one of the delights of the movie. Likewise, Godard was becoming interested in socialist politics at this time in his career, in light of the Vietnam war and anti-colonial struggles that were happening globally, so a lot of "revolutionary" ideas are expressed by characters in the film. Unfortunately Godard most often has people simply read manifestos to the camera. Godard's political interests are thus conveyed in an awkward, cumbersome way. You do not have to agree with they're saying in order to enjoy the film.
Having said that, the movie is still one hell of a ride -- no pun intended. The bourgeois couple at the heart of the story don't care about the flaming chaos around them. They just want their money. At one point the husband even sits idly by as a stranger rapes his wife.
As a journey narrative of two people, WEEKEND (or is it WEEK END?)is reminiscent of Alejandro Jodorwosky's 1968 FANDO & LIS. (There was something in the water in the late 60s.) Like Fando & Lis, Weekend is mainly a series of segments or vignettes strung together over the course of two protagonists' quest. In Fando & Lis's case the couple's uest is for the fabled City of Tar; in Weekend's case it's for an ample inheritance.
The last 30 minutes are the best in the film, as well as the most graphic. Comparisons to Pasolini's SALO or even John Waters's PINK FLAMINGOS may come to mind. In short, the bourgeois couple are kidnapped by mod-ish looking radical militants who look as if they've all come from an MC5 concert. One disturbing scene shows the actors actually slaughtering a duck and a pig on camera. The ducks headless neck suirts blood as its body twitches and its wings flap. The pig struggles as its throat is slit in front of the camera. Of course, people kill pigs and fowl everyday -- it's how a lot of folks are supplied with their favorite meals. What could possibly be wrong with showing it, Godard almost seems to ask?
But the radicals also, it turns out, like to literally eat the rich, too. One uncomfortable scene portrays a victim stripping naked, being killed, and then being prepared for a meal as a cook cracks two eggs over her lifeless body and then thrusts a fish into her vagina (not shown on camera). Finally, the bourgeois husband is killed and is served up with the pig meat. The wife, who seems to have accepted the militants' way of life at this point, dines on her husband's and the pig's flesh as the movie ends.
Not for everyone, but some sort of remarkable milestone in cinema. Chaotic, dangerous, transgressive, and never boring.
The version of WEEK END I saw was the PAL version, which featured a great transfer, nice lucid colors, and special features that included an interview with Godard cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who is actually quite humorous and likeable as he sheds light on the circumstances surrounding the making of the movie. ("Godard was in a bad mood most of the time he was making the film, hence all the car crashes," "Godard wanted to piss off the producer with this scene," etc., to paraphrase.)