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19939La autopista del Sur

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  • Jym Dyer
    Jan 9, 2012
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      =v= Jen-Luc Godard's 1967 film _Week_End_ was at a moviehouse
      this weekend, and had no idea what I was getting into. In the
      first few minutes of the film there is road rage (well, parking
      lot rage), and in short order we're in the road film from Hell.
      After another parking lot altercation, we find ourselves in a
      remarkable 8-minute tracking shot of a traffic jam on a highway
      out of Paris. Of course it's online:


      Notice the honking and anger every step of the way.

      =v= Things aren't much better when our protagonists get their
      car rolling at higher speeds, of course; there are smashed-up
      cars and cartoonishly bloody bodies alongside every country
      road. A bicyclist is run off the road, then a car in exactly
      the same manner, and then of course a pedestrian. A collision
      between a sports car and tractor prompts a heated argument
      about class war.

      =v= A guerrilla band arrives about 2/3rds of the way into the
      film and dynamites a car, but alas, the revolution (and the
      film) goes awry when it loses sight of its core values. The
      guerillas apparently there to make some kind of statement
      about the collapse of bourgeois civiliation (I use the b-word
      advisedly, because after this film, Godard devoted his career
      to Marxism). The revolutionaries descend into cruelty and
      barbarism, less cartoonish and more shocking -- a dull-witted
      writeup in the _SF_Weekly_ links this to Occupy Wall Street for
      no discerniblereason -- and we move from cars to cannibalism
      and guns. Alas.

      =v= Even so, overall, a satisfying look at car culture and
      its discontents. Two carfree thumbs up!