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DVD: Le Week-End | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Le Week-End

DVD: Le Week-End

Married English sixty-somethings go wild in Paris in Kureishi-scripted drama via Godard

Toujours l'amour: Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent) in 'Le Week-End'Film4

Le Week-End is the third film written by Hanif Kureishi and directed by Roger Michell to probe late-flowering lust. So empathetically do the duo depict Anne Reid's character in The Mother (2003), Peter O'Toole's in Venus (2006), and now those played by Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent that the unofficial trilogy constitutes a revolt against the cultural hegemony of teen movies.

Nick (Broadbent) is a lecturer just fired by his Birmingham poly for making a racist remark to a female student. Initially unaware of his crisis, his wife Meg (Duncan) yearns to quit her job as a secondary school teacher. They arrive in Paris for a thirtieth anniversary weekend that, despite Nick's unstinting passion for Meg, proves anything but dirty. They sight-see, eat, drink, do a runner, bicker, and make up, but typically don't have sex. Meg's barbs indicate Nick's neediness and irresolution have eroded her desire for him. In one scene, she sadistically teases him. Broadbent and Duncan's body language and verbal skirmishing are scalpel-sharp.

The pair has some romantic moments, even kissing on the street like the lovers in Robert Doisneau's famous photo. They're caught in the act by Morgan (Jeff Goldblum, pictured right), a breezy American writer who was Nick's left-wing protégé at Cambridge and has outstripped him on every level – at a cost to others. (Goldblum nails the insecurity beneath Morgan's hail-fellow veneer.) At a party for overachieving intellectuals that Morgan's beautiful young second wife throws for him, Meg, perhaps intentionally, goads Nick too far – and the truth-telling starts. 

Four times Nick and Meg, once joined by Morgan, deliciously salute the coolest sequences in Bande à part (1964). Le Week-End is named, of course, for Weekend (1967). They'd have seen those Jean-Luc Godard films at university and embraced their assaults on the bourgeois values that would soon shackle them. Kureishi and Michell ask if youthful idealism can be rekindled by taking risks when the twilight beckons. 

This bittersweet adult drama repays watching several times. Disc extras include a commentary by Michell and producer Kevin Loader, one interview with Michell and Kureishi and another with Broadbent and Duncan.

 

Broadbent and Duncan's body language and verbal skirmishing are scalpel-sharp

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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