1 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 16

D an egeld

Weekend. (Con tinentale.) —Women of the World. (Cameo-Royal.) (Both 'X' certificate.)

Weekend (though the Danes / know spend their weekends otherwise) confirms what one has been conditioned to think about the gloom of Danish—or at any rate Scandinavian—life, the emptiness of material well-being at its most rational, the blond, blue-eyed nightmare of per- fect psychological freedom. Not that the week- enders are free, of course, though they chat about 'pure promiscuity"and, try raping the maid in the presence of her three small charges, whose squeals put the rapist off a bit. But they are all almost weirdly wretched, and the film ends on words that could suit them all: '1 just can't bear it.'

Three middle-class married couples, with three children between them and a teenage maid and bearded bachelor to confuse things, are spending a weekend in a cottage at the sea. Things start not unpleasantly, even gaily, but deteriorate : they drink, talk, paw, and grow pro- gressively more miserable, their misery taking the form of violence of a peevish, motiveless kind: stamping over a child's sand-castle, making a row in a night-club, finally fighting one another in curious indignation at the sort of action any

of them seems likely to commit. The direction is slow, grey and uncompromisingly leaden. Life is meaningless, therefore hell; and the faces of ordinary youngish people (1 found them almost indistinguishable, which made identification and personal interest difficult) are used to transmit the image of this inner hell with rather alarm- ing effect, They eat, drink, dance, ignore their children, make love, shrouded in almost palpable wretchedness. No explanation is given; but then this degree of wretchedness is (rationally) inex- plicable. An atmospheric, understated film, densely -dingy in spite of—almost because of— pretty enough surroundings, the inevitable Scan- dinavian visual attractiveness, Weekend has a sort of dour integrity and moments of even dourer humour.

Scandinavian sex comes into Gualtiero Jaco- petti's Women of the World, a documentary of such outsize vulgarity that presumably it is in- tended as the vulgarian's very own travelogue, the Peeping Tom's .guide. Nothing seems to link the various episodes except sensationalism at its crudest : pain, deformity, pathos of every sort is exploited to produce the biggest gasp, leer, snigger or (if there were such a thing left) blush. From bed to brothel, to shrine, to hospital, to film festival the camera creeps, seldom photo- graphing a woman's face, nearly always her (headless) body; unless the face (unbandaged, scarlet, close-up) belongs to a woman who has just been flayed for a cosmetic operation, or to an Oriental girl having her eyes operated on (again in close up, each stitch, each incision) to make them look Western. Unpityingly, for kicks, we are shown the prostitutes displayed in the Ham- burg shop windows, and a few minutes later some thalidomide babies; the mothers of sick children at Lourdes, and a lesbian night-club; the diagrams of a Japanese sex-education class, a vast white fish said to be 'half a woman' fished up by convicts on a wornanless island, cosmetic surgery to enlarge the breasts, the uncurtained bedroom of a Swedish students' hostel. The director of Mondo Cane has made a film for which the word tasteless is inadequate and the word obscene sounds too serious. I suppose the word filthy might just do.