Weekend23 May 2016
Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years was one of my favorite 2015 films. When I saw Weekend was recently inducted into the Criterion collection and it was streaming online, I was more than happy to catch up with it.
There are a couple of shots in the film that frame the central couple and the main apartment building where a few of their major scenes occur that stuck with me much past the runtime. 3 of these shots are similar and they reoccur in the 3 major acts of the film. They feature Glen walking on a sidewalk, leaving Russell’s apartment after an encounter together. Another shot, in the 3rd act, frames the couple in a sole lit window in the apartment building, late at night after something of a lovely bender.
Each shot, in addition to sequences earlier in the film (the kind that also made 45 Years memorable) that establish Russell’s character walking across a long span from one side of the screen to the other, are some of the best parts of Haigh’s direction. They remind us, the audience, of our gaze. They re-establish a distance that has slowly been bending against the weight of the intimacy we’re let in on. And each time we remember that we know only a little bit about these characters, no matter how much we think we’re privy to.
In the case of the central relationship in this film, Haigh has done a marvelous job letting us in slowly, over the course of the film, into the bond between Russell and Glen. Their intimacy, sex, passion, love all blossom at a natural pace, even if the premise of it all happening in a weekend might sound trite. Haigh, with lots of help from his lead actors, pulls it all off beautifully. I’m on board for more of this kind of work from Haigh in the future.