Building on the intricate triangular relationship of Three Bewildered People in the Night, Araki’s second feature tackles a considerably more complex politico-psychodynamic situation. Six people—gay, straight, in relationships or bitterly out of them—come together for an impromptu college reunion in Los Angeles, where their facades of bored aimlessness gradually erode as boiling infidelities and the emotional bruisings they have suffered at each other’s hands come to the surface. Made on an astonishing budget of $5,000, Araki’s Weekend is not only a marvel of lo-fi ingenuity but a powerful, troubling statement about the anxiety and alienation produced by a feeling of collective political impotence, aligning the film both thematically and tonally with the great masterpieces of Antonioni. Though Araki wasn’t (yet) working at that lofty level, “the depictions of the warmth, confusions, and conflicts between’s Araki’s half-dozen burned-out cases command interest and respect” (Jonathan Rosenbaum). –TIFF
One of the angriest, most unconventional, and relentlessly intriguing voices in independent cinema, filmmaker Gregg Araki emerged on the film scene with the subtlety of a gunshot to the head with The Living End in 1992. His story of two HIV-positive gay lovers on a highway rampage quickly established him as one of the key figures in the “New Queer Cinema.” The film reached out to many of society’s more alienated members—gay and straight—who related to its energetic rage and identified with the anger of its principle characters.
Of Asian-American heritage, Araki is a native of Southern California. After attending film school at the University of Southern California—where he was particularly influenced by screwball comedies such as Bringing Up Baby— he made his directorial debut in 1987 with Three Bewildered People in the Night. With a budget of only $5,000 and using a stationary camera, he told the story of a romance between a video artist, her lover… read more