DVD review: The last of Godard's accessible period

“Weekend” is the last of the 15 features Jean-Luc Godard made in his first eight years as a director. (He made a similar number of shorts in the same period.) It was as though his brain was so intoxicated with the possibilities of cinema that he couldn't get his ideas onto the screen fast enough. “Weekend” is, like many of these works, a fractured narrative, and arguably the last to have anything resembling a story. Immediately thereafter, Godard spent several years making political film essays, most of which are much harder to approach.

This satirical look at bourgeois life is best remembered for a tracking shot, in which the central couple weave their way through a traffic jam for nearly eight minutes — or, since there is an edit at one point, maybe it's two tracking shots. But that's just an early hint of the combination of humor and violence that takes over the movie.

Criterion has its usual fine transfer from a new master; the on-disc supplements are a tad skimpier than usual, but fine nonetheless. There is an insightful 25-minute look at the director's work in general and “Weekend” in particular. We also get 45 minutes of interviews with cinematographer Raoul Coutard, the two leads, and A.D. Claude Miller, who later became a fine (though far more conventional) director and died earlier this year.

"Weekend" (Criterion Collection, Blu-ray, $39.95; DVD, $29.95)

ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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