Roger Michell and Hanif Kureishi – both British and in their late fifties, but seemingly as different as could be – have maintained a close working relationship for the past two decades. Michell, a director whosefilms include Notting Hill and Changing Lanes, and Kureishi, the novelist who also wrote the screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette, stay constantly in touch, and every so often make a film that is unmistakably their own.
Their first collaboration was in 1993, when they adapted Kureishi’s first novel for television, The Buddha of Suburbia, a semi-autobiographical account of a teenager with a British mother and a Pakistani father, growing up in south London and yearning for a life in the theatre.
Since then Michell and Kureishi (together with producer Kevin Loader) have made three feature films, all dealing with characters of advanced years. In The Mother (2003) Anne Reid played a grandmother who has a passionate fling with her daughter’s handyman lover (Daniel Craig). Venus (2006) starred Peter O’Toole as an elderly actor who conducts a chaste love affair with a young woman.
And now comes Le Week-End, arguably their strongest work to date and certainly their most personal. It stars Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as Nick and Meg, a married academic couple from Birmingham in their late fifties, who mark their wedding anniversary by returning to Paris, where they had honeymooned 30 years before, even booking into the same hotel.