21 August 2012

Article: "Weekend: The Space Between Two People"

Dennis Lim writes succinctly yet eloquently at the Criterion Current about Andrew Haigh's newly into-the-Collection inducted Weekend, the film that in my opinion was the best written, best supported (see actor Chris New as Glen in the image at right/above), and best overall new work last year. A choice excerpt follows below:

Character-driven dramas are not supposed to make a show of backstory, but in the genre of the blossoming romance—focused on two people for whom the rest of the world has fallen away, and who are hungry to know everything about each other—there is nothing more natural than exposition. Much of Weekend is devoted to defining these characters—or rather to watching how they define themselves—in streams of free-flowing but perfectly calibrated talk, and in a few candid, tender sex scenes.
A gifted writer with an ear for naturalistic dialogue and a shrewd sense of structure, Haigh embeds several discoveries along the way—most crucially, the catch that defines the film’s time frame and immediately lends its meandering conversations a heightened urgency: Glen is leaving for the States on Sunday for a two-year art program. [...] But it’s a testament to Haigh’s skill and maturity that Weekend doesn’t hinge on simple plot points, on will-they-won’t-they suspense, or on a late twist that reveals an unexpected connection between the protagonists. What truly matters here is the vivid sense of two young men going about thoroughly ordinary lives, neither fully satisfied nor exactly depressed (“Are you happy?” Glen asks Russell; “I’m fine,” he responds), engaged in the day-to-day drama of figuring out who they are, in public and in private. (Lim, 2012, http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2426-weekend-the-space-between-two-people)

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