622 Weekend (2011)

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Jeff
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622 Weekend (2011)

#1 Post by Jeff » Tue May 15, 2012 5:42 pm

Weekend (2011)

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This sensual, remarkably observed, beautifully acted wonder is the breakout feature from British writer-director-editor Andrew Haigh. Rarely has a film been as honest about sexuality—in both depiction and discussion—as this tale of a one-night-stand that develops into a weekend-long idyll for two very different young men (exciting newcomers Tom Cullen and Chris New) in Midlands England. It’s an emotionally naked film that’s both an invaluable snapshot of the complexities of contemporary gay living and a universally identifiable portrait of a love affair.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

- New high-definition digital restoration, approved by director Andrew Haigh and director of photography Ula Pontikos, featuring 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- New program featuring interviews with Haigh, Pontikos, producer Tristan Goligher, and actors Tom Cullen and Chris New
- New interview with Haigh on the film’s sex scenes
- Video essay on the film’s set photographers, Oisín Share and Colin Quinn
- Cahuenga Blvd. (2005) and Five Miles Out (2009), two short films by Haigh
- Trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim

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zedz
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#2 Post by zedz » Tue May 15, 2012 6:08 pm

knives wrote:Anyone want to put in a good word for Weekend? From this distance it just looks like generic indie romance 3045i9 with the 'twist' that the characters are gay.
I dare say any indie romance that isn't an obvious high concept quirkfest is going to look generic if you haven't seen it or bothered to find out anything about it. The film's had a great reception, it doesn't deserve to be slagged off sight unseen. Nor does any film, actually.

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knives
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#3 Post by knives » Tue May 15, 2012 6:20 pm

zedz wrote:I dare say any indie romance that isn't an obvious high concept quirkfest is going to look generic if you haven't seen it or bothered to find out anything about it. The film's had a great reception, it doesn't deserve to be slagged off sight unseen. Nor does any film, actually.
I don't mean to be slagging off (and actually what I am wary of is that it will be a 'high concept' quirkfest, but played for drama). I was just curious what about the film makes it ring as a good or great film?

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david hare
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#4 Post by david hare » Tue May 15, 2012 7:30 pm

This is a very fine little film with nothing little about its great ideas, performances and engagement.
It stands totally outside the "indie romance" genre and the even more atrocious "gay romance" sub genre. If it has any major arthouse antecedent it's Rohmer. Haigh made it for next to nothing and I think it was entirely shot with Canon 5D cameras, like Hellman's terrific Road to Nowhere. It looks absolutely beautiful and there is not a skerrick of badly executed mise en scene. The long takes are fabulously sustained. I also found it incredibly moving.

Along with the Fejos this is the first thing from Criterion since Anaotmy of a Murder that's even vaguley excited me (but I already have it in a superb UK edition.)

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knives
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#5 Post by knives » Tue May 15, 2012 7:34 pm

And those were the key words I was looking for. That certainly sounds better than the marketing for it around San Diego (I can not agree with you anymore on the atrocity of most 'gay romance' films. What do you feel about (I think it was) Matt's comparison to Brief Encounter?

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david hare
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#6 Post by david hare » Tue May 15, 2012 7:41 pm

For a start I intensely dislike Brief Encounter, The only Coward I really like is something even les closeted and more gay explicit like Lubitsch's superb reworking of Design for Living.

Coward's best comedy schtick to me is probably the apocraphyl Queen of Tonga routine at the Royal gala (""Who is that little man under her arm?" "Her lunch.") But generally he's totally 50s.
Asking me to respond in any way whatsoever to gay films these days is like a red rag to a bull. I would personally murder all the characters and then slowly waterboard the directors. "Gay" and cinema to me now are totally anithetical.
Haigh's film, like me, is post gay.

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knives
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#7 Post by knives » Tue May 15, 2012 7:44 pm

Took the words right out of my mouth hence why the comparison had me very wary. You've certainly convinced at least one crazed individual to pick this up.

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Finch
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#8 Post by Finch » Tue May 15, 2012 7:50 pm

Weekend is one of the few gay films that managed to get well deserved mainstream recognition without being "a gay film for the hetero crowd". As a gay man, I found the film refreshingly authentic and free of cliches, and quirkiness or winks of any sort. The relationship in the film unfolds in a manner I found completely convincing and the cumulative effect is quite overpowering at the end. Matt described it elsewhere as a Brief Encounter in 2011 with a gay couple which I slightly disagree with (though I am sure Matt meant it in a complementary way): the Lean has much to recommend but it is dated in the way the couple feel they have to conform to the will and norms of society and society has changed so profoundly that, for me anyway, Brief Encounter doesn't resonate as much as it ought to. I think it unlikely that Weekend will feel dated like the Lean does, i.e. the outcome in Weekend is not determined by the couple feeling that they have to conform. Of all of Criterion's recent acquisitions of contemporary films, this is one of the very best and totally deserving of its inclusion in the collection.

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mfunk9786
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#9 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue May 15, 2012 8:06 pm

This movie looks so gay

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david hare
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#10 Post by david hare » Tue May 15, 2012 8:27 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:This movie looks so gay
I am delighted to inform you it does not feel in the least "gay" (or gay. Or Gay...)

Finch includes almost every response but like me forgot one - the couple's sex scenes are extremely horny. Especially the scene with Russell being bottom, in which he comes almost straight away.

Getting back to Brief Encounter: is there any more obvious subtextual squeezing of Cowards ever so faggy closetiness and "Britishness", replete with all that dreary middle class guilt and repression so symptomatic of the Tragic Queen, here channelled into the dark and humorless world of the Tragic Heterosexual. Howard and Celia should have been tearing each others' clothes off and I would have switched Horowitz for Moura Lympany's deathly dull rendition of the Rachmaninov 2. The whole thing reeks of "good taste". Tennesse kind of gets him right as the "Queen of Capri" ministering his inimitable taste and wit to the masses in Milk Train/Boom.
I would rather listen to endless loops of his Vegas cocktail piano routines. THese at least have some honest vulgarity.

The men in Weekend are alive, and growing, and alive to each other, and alive to life. They're not just fucking gay.
Last edited by david hare on Tue May 15, 2012 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mfunk9786
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#11 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue May 15, 2012 8:29 pm

I was just joking because I have very little comedic ability, of course. I'm really looking forward to seeing this one.

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knives
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#12 Post by knives » Tue May 15, 2012 8:33 pm

It wasn't a necessary joke though and only reveals an immaturity. This post gay stuff (sad that it has to be post rather than first response) that Finch and Hare (how's that for the name of a comedy duo) are discussing is (unfortunately) very important and sadly something people in general can't seem to go to even though it's the only logical response. Hell we still have to put up with shit like The Kids Are All Right which is so excited to 'be gay' that it forgets to make characters let alone humans.

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mfunk9786
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#13 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue May 15, 2012 8:37 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with their sentiments regarding the film being post-gay, which is the reason I made the joke in the first place. My goodness gracious

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david hare
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#14 Post by david hare » Tue May 15, 2012 8:42 pm

knives wrote: Finch and Hare (how's that for the name of a comedy duo)
Caldicott and Charters beat us to it. But they're too gay.
You are right about the gay movie genre but you're really talking about the USA. Tere are discussions here going back years and years about fabulous homosexual directors including Sebastien LIfshitz, JAcques Nolot, Julian Hernandez etc. Real artists.

(EDIT re above: Im sure mfunk understands perfectly what we're talking about.)

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knives
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#15 Post by knives » Tue May 15, 2012 8:49 pm

Broken sky Hernandez? That's the only film of his I've seen (and I agree that's true art). Do you have any specific recommendations for him or is it a case where each piece is at least a minor masterpiece? Haven't heard of Lifshitz or Nolot though.

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puxzkkx
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#16 Post by puxzkkx » Tue May 15, 2012 9:56 pm

zedz wrote:
knives wrote:Anyone want to put in a good word for Weekend? From this distance it just looks like generic indie romance 3045i9 with the 'twist' that the characters are gay.
I dare say any indie romance that isn't an obvious high concept quirkfest is going to look generic if you haven't seen it or bothered to find out anything about it. The film's had a great reception, it doesn't deserve to be slagged off sight unseen. Nor does any film, actually.
I guess I'd agree that this is "post-gay". I don't think it is a perfect film but it is one where the characters are people, not simply "gays" - at the same time it says a lot (and very eloquently) about what it means, socially and personally, to be gay at this point in history, without seeming self-conscious or gimmicky. Hopefully this is a harbinger of good things to come from Haigh as well as other gay directors making films about gay characters.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, in the film, the characters' sexuality is incidental - but it is explored in a way that gives insight into their experience of being homosexual. Well-written, shot and acted and very genuine.

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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#17 Post by colinr0380 » Wed May 16, 2012 4:24 am

What is perhaps just as important as it being a 'post gay-film film' (instead simply becoming a touching relationship drama in its own right), and something that the director and various UK critics have touched on in interviews, is that it is that rare film set outside a major UK city. Even the Queer as Folk series had its Manchester setting, for obvious reasons.

This film suggests that there is life outside of the major cities, and also that the setting presents its own sets of problems with relationships.

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Finch
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#18 Post by Finch » Wed May 16, 2012 4:41 am

Great responses from everyone, especially knives (Finch & Hare, love it) and puxzxkkx (as to their sexuality being incidental). david is right about the sex scenes, intimate and very horny. An all the more impressive feat since so few directors get this right, whether it's hetero or gay sex but I feel especially sorry for our hetero friends who more often than not get sex scenes of a tortured, negative quality and little joy. Compare that to the sensuality and joy in a scene like the straight couple fucking in Live Flesh by Almodovar (have not seen Broken Sky etc yet to think of gay examples other than Weekend though I have a soft spot for Guenter Kaufmann having his way with Querelle in the Fassbender movie; Kaufmann died last week).

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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#19 Post by bigP » Wed May 16, 2012 9:45 am

Great to see this being released. I've not seen it yet but thought Haigh's previous, Greek Pete, was extremely good. Thanks David Hare, Finch et al. for the great write-ups; this has made it a must-see. I'm still in two minds about whether to pick up the UK release or not - has anyone seen / can comment on the two shorts Criterion are including? Pretty much the deal breaker at this time.

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Matt
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#20 Post by Matt » Wed May 16, 2012 10:46 am

I compared Weekend to Brief Encounter because it's about a brief romance that starts by chance and ends, sadly, in a train station. I'm certainly not the only person to make that facile comparison, and Andrew Haigh admits it as a favorite. In offhandedly comparing the basic premise of the two films, in no way did I mean to imply that Haigh's film is in the style of David Lean or Noel Coward.

I don't know that I agree that there even is such a thing as post-gay, but the film says a lot about being gay in a small town/city in 2011 without being about being gay. If you like bittersweet, quiet, languorous romances like Lost in Translation or Before Sunset/Before Sunrise, then you'll probably like this one.

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Michael
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#21 Post by Michael » Wed May 16, 2012 3:33 pm

Saw this two weeks ago. If I had seen it last year, it would have been the #1 film of 2011 for me. It’s really a gem, lovingly crafted, intimate and accurate. “Post gay” popped up here and there..very interesting because that’s exactly what I said of Lifshitz films when I first saw them some years ago. Weekend reminded me of Presque Rien and Wild Side on many levels, esp in their treatment of gay characters.
Last edited by Michael on Thu May 17, 2012 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#22 Post by david hare » Wed May 16, 2012 9:32 pm

Matt I think Haigh's movie is itself opening up the dialogue about being "post" gay with Russell whose differences in this regard to Glen are typical of what I'm talking about. Two faces of "out" gayness which the two characters signify are just the beginning of this whole dialogue that seems to me now essential for all gay indentified people, especially in the weird (and totally antipathetic to me) context of total assimilationism that current gay Groupspeak seems to be determined to impose on everyone, down to final and total embourgeoisement like gay marriage and all the rest of the baggage that goes with late capitalist orthodoxy and consumerist conformity. The "We're just like them" syndrome. Each character also embodies contradictory attitudes and impulses in this - is Russell for instance in fact more "radical" in his non separatism than Guy, although some may see him as less "out"? For myself at the totally out of the picture age of 62 I feel far more bolshie than anyone I know under 50, and I despair at the absence of the old radicalism I used to know.
So this is a dialogue I've been waiting decades to hear in a "gay" film.
The movie also takes great advantage of the fact - very much reflecting reality I think - of setting the play within a small(ish) city rather than a mega capital like London with its own historically entrenched gay ghettoes.

I suppose I'm being outright bitchy about Coward. It all just seems so yesterday, and god knows I did my first major radio production as a music producer on Coward back in 1973. See this is what happens when you get old and grumpy (Although I feel rather more elated than grumpy as I become more ancient - I no longer have to work for one.)

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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#23 Post by puxzkkx » Wed May 16, 2012 10:24 pm

david hare wrote:Matt I think Haigh's movie is itself opening up the dialogue about being "post" gay with Russell whose differences in this regard to Glen are typical of what I'm talking about. Two faces of "out" gayness which the two characters signify are just the beginning of this whole dialogue that seems to me now essential for all gay indentified people, especially in the weird (and totally antipathetic to me) context of total assimilationism that current gay Groupspeak seems to be determined to impose on everyone, down to final and total embourgeoisement like gay marriage and all the rest of the baggage that goes with late capitalist orthodoxy and consumerist conformity. The "We're just like them" syndrome. Each character also embodies contradictory attitudes and impulses in this - is Russell for instance in fact more "radical" in his non separatism than Guy, although some may see him as less "out"? For myself at the totally out of the picture age of 62 I feel far more bolshie than anyone I know under 50, and I despair at the absence of the old radicalism I used to know.
Veering a bit off topic but I'm not exactly sure how you see this - I'm a proud member of the 'assimilationist' gay bourgeoisie but I feel alone among gay men in this regard. I feel like gay politics is becoming more and more focused on separatism, whereas the original mission of the rights movement focused on assimilation.

I don't want to get into an argument seeing as it appears that we have completely opposite viewpoints on this issue, but I'm wondering where you're seeing this 'new assimilationism'. I feel like general conceptions of 'the community' are moving further and further away from what you would see as "hetero" values, they are just doing so in a quieter way.

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david hare
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#24 Post by david hare » Wed May 16, 2012 11:00 pm

The gay lib I was a part of from the late 60s/early 70s was an entirely radical schema which was forged from elements of feminism, the anti war movement which began in the mid 60s, and the black power movement. So things like marriage and membership of the military or organized religion as celebrants for instance were (and still are to me) totally unwelcome as elements of the capitalist patriarchy. Nothing has ever changed my mind about that. The former is legalized ownership at its worst and military involvement in the social contract simply santcifies state murder (like capital punishment.) As for organized religion the less said the better.
As for separatism, this came and went over the years like a passing whim within the movmenet itself, and its death knell seemed to be the support of lesbians and other queer minorities during the initial decade of AIDS -many of the support people in that ghastly period were not gay men. (Many were indeed not gay at all.)

I must confess I simply don't know what you mean by "Assimilationist" or even separatist in the current context - whatever that might be. But perhaps I should be showing myself the door and frankly acknowledging I'm a dinosaur.

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knives
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Re: 622 Weekend (2011)

#25 Post by knives » Thu May 17, 2012 1:12 am

I get what you're saying and have experienced it too though it might be a location thing to an extant. Over here in San Diego (with exceptions like the Sisters of course) the gay community is filled with apolitical folks who just dress and act straight rather than taking part in the culture beyond living in the local gay ghetto. A lot of it is super frustrating.

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