Weekend | Fresh Takes

Fresh takes and film reviews from new voices in film.

Jake & Alex

26 Feb 24

Fresh Takes is a space for the latest generation of film lovers to share their views and opinions on some of the great films we are showing at Picturehouse cinemas. 

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Here are some Fresh Takes on Weekend, the debut feature from All of Us Strangers director Andrew Haigh: an honest and unapologetic love story between two men, and a portrait of the universal struggle for an authentic life in all its forms.

Weekend was shown as part of the Picturehouse OUT programme, showcasing fantastic LGBTQ+ films from reclaimed classics to cutting-edge cinema.

Jake, 24

Jake is a lover of all types of film, but especially horror, queer cinema, and Paddington 2. 

Jake says...

Before capturing the hearts of many with this year's All Of Us Strangers, writer-director Andrew Haigh gave us another exceptional romantic drama back in 2011. Shot for around £120,000, Weekend takes advantage of its low budget by presenting the intimate connection between two different men in a very natural way, with handheld cinematography and extended 'one take' sequences.

While many filmmakers use long takes to showcase their directing skills, Haigh instead uses these to show us the natural chemistry between the film's characters, Russell and Glen. We feel like a fly on the wall as Haigh lets us marvel at the incredible performances of Tom Cullen and Chris New. Halfway through the film, a 'ticking clock' is introduced, imbuing every new interaction between Russell and Glen with increasing tension. Their conversations touch on themes such as the isolation queer people experience, and the perceptions of their relationships from the point of view of heterosexual society.

The latter topic is brought up often by Glen, who's using recollections of sexual encounters for an art project – he aspires to challenge people to look at queer life through an unbiased lens. It feels like Andrew Haigh himself is presenting Weekend as such: it's an encapsulation of queer experiences that, despite being centred around homosexuality, touches on themes and ideas that anyone can engage with regardless of their background. As someone in their mid-20s, still trying to figure out their place in the world, the film really hit home.

Alex, 22

Alex is a lover of cinema, music and photography. He lives in London with his girlfriend and is learning to roller skate on the weekends.

Alex says...

Weekend is a gentle yet captivating portrait of understanding, love and self-discovery. Andrew Haigh effortlessly captures the beauty in the mundane, transporting the viewer through an unadorned yet meaningful weekend in Nottingham for two men: Glen and Russell.

Haigh squeezes water from a stone with the cinematography from the very first shots, showing the unremarkable setting through an affectionate lens. This admiration for the little things is a continued theme throughout the film, and although the story is intimate and realistic, you leave the cinema feeling the satisfaction you may expect after a more intense film.

The gentle, if at times slow, pacing of the story slowly immerses you in Russell's life: you can almost smell the dusty flat, morning breath, coffee boiling. The subdued colours counter typical dramatic rom-com stylings and make you focus on the human connection unfolding on screen. All of the characters are personable and easy to care for, and although I believe Glen's character could have been more gradually developed, we're presented with satisfying arcs for both himself and Russell. A celebration of the quiet, sculpting moments found in the novelty of a new relationship, Haigh shows us that you don't need beautiful scenery, drama or fantasy for the exploration of one's own identity – just a tender weekend with a lover.

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