The road trip unfolds as a pastiche of bourgeoisie vulgarity and entitlement. A fender bender escalates to gunplay. A famous 10-minute tracking shot of a traffic jam follows the couple weaving in and out among angry motorists, obnoxious children, circus animals, and a couple sitting in the road playing chess. They drive through a bloody accident without so much as a “meh.” They pick up curious anarchists. They wander through the French Revolution where a soldier recites philosophy. They meet Emily Bronte and Tom Thumb in the woods and set Ms. Bronte on fire. They develop an awareness that they are in a film (Corinne even says that films are more real than books or somesuch nonsense). They meet two garbage men, an African and a Jew, who take turns delivering facile political rants while the camera lingers on their bored faces. They finally wind up with a band of cannibalistic hippies living in the wilderness, and the woman ends up eating her own husband.
Pauline Kael calls Week End “the most powerful mystical movie since [Bergman's] The Seventh Seal and [Ichikawa's] Fires on the Plain and passages of Kurosawa.” Roger Ebert wrote that it was Godard’s “best film, and his most inventive.” The film has also, in turns, been called “visionary,” “ambitious,” and “astonishingly beautiful.”
I had no use for it.
Godardian film geeks will surely rise to crush me, squealing their stale celeusma: “You don’t like it because you didn’t get it!”
The same can be said for AIDS.
Listen: I imagine Week End was groundbreaking in 1967 with its disjointed anti-narrative and anti-bourgeoisie motifs reminiscent of Luis Bunuel. It’s just that in the wake of Godard’s film, I've seen far too many pretentious artists (myself included) who think they can spew whatever stream of consciousness bullshit they like on celluloid or canvas or paper and consequently call it a masterpiece.
As my writing sensai, Keith Denniston, used to say, not every fart is art.
Sensai Keith Denniston told me that it was shit. So did most of the other people in the class.
I told them they didn’t like me because they didn’t get me.
On the contrary, Sensai Keith assured me. Everyone in the room liked me. They all thought I was a swell guy. They just believed that I had written a story that was rated PG for Pure Garbage.
Not long ago, I was cleaning out the bins in my garage, and I found my original copy of “Around the Rabbit Edge and Into the Hole.” I tried to read it.
How to describe the experience?
Imagine one of those nightmares where you are naked in a public place. Now imagine that in that nightmare your body is misshapen and ugly, the most hideous human form anyone has ever seen. Now imagine that in that nightmare you’re caught in public doing something really embarrassing, like having sex with a dog, and that a bunch of people are videoing it with their cameras to put on YouTube.
Close your eyes. Imagine that nightmare.
That was what it was like reading “Around the Rabbit Edge and Into the Hole.” I am utterly humiliated that I wrote that abortion of words, and that I not only shared it with Sensai Keith but with every one of my peers in that class.
Movies like Week End are what inspire young and budding artists with minds full of mush to attempt that shit. And I, as a young and budding artist, was no different.
For the record, I put “Around the Rabbit Edge and Into the Hole” on the grill and burned it.