Having joined the BFFS team just over a month ago, I thought I’d pick one of my favourite films out of the BFFS Booking Scheme back catalogue and write about it. I’ve picked the British realist film Weekend, which is one of the Peccadillo Pictures titles available now to book either on DVD or Blu-ray.
Weekend | Andrew Haigh | 2011 | UK | 97 mins
Writing this at the extended Easter bank holiday seems appropriate considering the premise of Andrew Haigh’s award winning 2011 feature film Weekend. The film starts on a Friday night. After attending a drunken house party with some of his straight friends Russell (Tom Cullen) heads over to a bar and picks up Glen (Chris New). Russell and Glenn proceed to share a tender and thought-provoking weekend together.
Considering recent debates over the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the UK and less progressive news of homosexual prejudice in Putin’s Russia, a film like Weekend is refreshing to see, despite being made three years ago. Although a film about two gay men, difference here is not emphasised. In his director’s statement Andrew Haigh has said of the film, “Just as there are many ways to define a person, the same can be said of a film. I hope that rather than narrowing the resonance of the story, the gay context helps to amplify the themes felt at the heart of Weekend – those struggles we all face regardless of sexuality.”
Russell and Glen are very relatable characters. Aspects of both strike a chord; Russell’s reluctance to make public displays of affection in public, Glen’s fears of taking a big risk in order to further his career. Through their interaction, as with any of our own romantic interactions, there is something to be learnt about acceptance. Rather than seeing something new through the relationship on screen, there is something in the union of these slightly opposing character types that can be recognised in all of us. A sense of quiet urgency is given to the subtle reflections brought out of Russell and Glen’s encounter, each character achieving a small personal victory at the end of the weekend.
The soft, naturalistic lighting and spontaneity of many of the shots in the film adds to the romance in the portrayal of private moments. The everyday quality and gentle tone of Russell and Glen’s revelations act as a contrast to Glen’s contemporary art piece in which he records people’s feelings the night after a one night stand. This leads one to think about the power of film to give power and gravitas to the small and non-extreme moments of life and relationships.
So like the tender thoughtful moments we have ourselves at the weekend – taking that little bit longer to do the things we usually rush through, the first cup of coffee in the morning, reading the newspaper, walking to the supermarket – Weekend is a film to consider, long into the next weekend.