2011 BFI London Film Festival: Weekend
Two men ponder converting their one-night stand into something more substantial in Weekend, a new drama from Greek Pete director Andrew Haigh.
Haigh paints an intimate picture of a new relationship between two polar opposites, the understated Russell (Tom Cullen) and the altogether more extrovert Glen (Chris New). Constructing their connection with languid scenes and a bulk of dialogue sees their characters flourish into life, with further depth providing by two very promising performances, especially from Cullen who conveys an almost tragic sense of never quite fitting in.
This “Will they? Won’t they?” affair is captured with suitably complimentary cinematography which reaffirms the film’s authentic atmosphere and which also demonstrates an elegance above what would normally be expected of such a low-budget endeavour. A limited choice of locations – primarily Russell’s Nottingham flat – and few other substantially developed characters also contribute to a tale built from the foundations of the interplay between its two leads.
A romance, albeit one in which homosexuality in England is depicted as bittersweet as best (one of the most tender scenes is interrupted by a heckler, the place of gay culture in contemporary British society is heavily criticised), Weekend is a fleeting encounter in which the dilemma between finding a bright new future or losing a fresh chance for love is paramount. It’s a palpably universal theme from a filmmaker clearly both willing and able to take gay-themed cinema to a wider audience.