115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Take off my skirt and pullover": Class, Gender, and Violence as Feminine Illness in Godard’s Week-End

Keegan Medrano, San Francisco State University

This presentation centers the female characters in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 film Week-End as a way to confront the violence of French bourgeois femininity. The planned patricide for wealth and cannibalism represent the consumption of male bodies through killing and eating and the desire to gain wealth conditioned through the capitalist system. 

Proposal: 

In Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 film Week-End a married bourgeois couple, Roland and Corinne plot to murder her father and secretly each other to obtain his wealth and to break free from their disillusioned existence. Their descent into madness and murder is diverted as they drive through an increasingly cacophonous and violent French countryside to Corinne’s parents. Upon arriving, Roland and Corinne discover that her father is dead and decide to kill her mother and return to the road. On the road, a group of cannibalistic revolutionaries capture the couple and kill and consume Roland. For Week-End’s violence based critique of class structures, the violence of the female characters features prominently as Corinne’s desire to kill her father, the inheritance of his money, her male lover position her as a consumer of not only goods, but the commodified male body. The eating of Roland by the Seine and Oise Liberation Front’s female members reinforces the consumption of male bodies linking the anti-capitalist revolutionary group to their female bourgeois counterparts. Godard uses female class, femininity, and consumption to present the madness of the bourgeois and its pervasive ideology’s influence on the Seine and Oise Liberation Front.  By linking femininity to consumption to class as a form of madness, Week-End solidifies the female as not only a part, but the central agent of ill engorgement. Coupled with the degradation and objectification of the female body throughout, Week-End vilifies femininity as consumers of the male body and the perpetrators of horror.