Tuesday, December 16, 2008


One of the hardest, yet most interpretable scenes I have encountered in film is the, almost eight minute held, tracking shot from Weekend. It is a masterpiece, and an affront. There is so much symbology that can be read in this single scene I would almost compare it to a poem. This film clearly marks an end to an era in Godard's film making, as the form of his ambitions has clearly changed.

From the very onset of this traffic-jam scene, the audience is pelted with the sound of horns. Constant horns, shouting, and automotive noises incessantly pound away at a viewer's patience. Very tense and forced music appears and disappears.  At one point, the sound of children singing can be just heard above the otherwise offensive soundtrack. As one keeps watching the scene, it almost seems that a subliminal rhythm is created by the honking, and the music picks up on this rhythm at times. 

The sound is, of course, reflective of the visual. Although rhythmically changing, the sound is constant, just as the traffic is. Although there are times when it seems the car falls into a lull, it always drives forward. The scene of course, is clearly not what it seems to be visually.  Many of the cars are simply pulled over on the side of the road, yet some are able to drive through the traffic.  Godard is subtly hinting that if these people wanted to move, they probably could.  Whether this represents the dissent between the rich and poor, is up for the viewer to decide, but seems probably giving the rest of the film's ideology. This is further supported by some of the vehicles parked on the road, as they suggest lower-class occupations. The people throwing beach balls or playing cards may represent the proletariat who do not care enough to rebel, or are ignorant of the change they could enact.

The chaos of the sound and visual elements present a negative view of society, something that also seems to coincide with Godard's radicalism. The one thing that seems to hold the entire scene together, is that the camera does not cut once. Ultimately, I believe it was Godard's purpose to offend the viewer, because while interesting the scene becomes very annoying. One cannot get used to the blasting of horns, and traffic is an uninteresting and frustrating part of life. It is in this offensive form, however, that Godard leaves open possibilites for interpretation and symbolism.

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