French New Wave cinema is known for many things, but great car movies certainly aren’t among them. However, Jean-Luc Godard, who died on Tuesday at the ripe old age of 91, might have inadvertently made exactly such a film. It’s a black comedy called Week End, it came out in 1967, and in addition to being a generally great film, it’s got a stellar collection of on-screen cars.
Week End follows a bourgeoise married couple as they travel to collect an inheritance from a father who’s not yet dead. They venture through a post-apocalyptic countryside, witnessing many car accidents before crashing their own Facel-Vega convertible and being forced to continue the journey by other means. The movie is way weirder than I make it sound, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers, y’know?
Contemporary critics described Week End as Godard’s vision of hell and, frankly, if I can motor around the French countryside in a Facel-Vega or a bubble-window Barracuda or even an Alfa Giulia, then sign me up. It sounds way better than pitchforks and brimstone.
As of the time of publication, Week End is streaming on HBO Max along with another one of Godard’s truly great films, Breathless, and a few others. My favorite Godard film, and the subject of one of the best Silkworm songs, “Contempt,” is available to rent from YouTube or Amazon Prime.
So, join me in pouring out a glass of red this evening for one of the greatest to ever direct, Jean-Luc Godard, and his accidentally great car film, Week End.