HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
Feedback
Lady is a Square, The
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Dark Rendezvous
Silk Road
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Contempt when love turns to loathing
Year: 1963
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, Georgia Moll, Fritz Lang
Genre: Drama, Romance, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 2 votes)
Review: One of the most ingenious and multi-layered movies ever made, Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris (Contempt) is a study in twisted, troubling emotional disarray sheathed in exquisite beauty. Beauty that encompasses the sun-kissed French Riviera, intoxicating cinemascope and Technicolor compositions by genius cameraman Raoul Coutard, George Delerue’s heart-melting score, and the seductive allure of Brigitte Bardot, in her finest role.

Recruited into a big-budget, cross-continental production of Homer’s Odyssey, troubled screenwriter Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli) finds himself struggling to accommodate the demands of arrogant American film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) and legendary director Fritz Lang (playing himself), whilst unwittingly losing the love of his wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot). When the crude and lecherous Prokosch takes a shine to gorgeous Camille, Paul unwisely persuades his wife to take a ride with the American to Cinecittà studios. Deeply hurt by this gesture, Camille becomes openly contemptuous of Paul and their once-happy marriage unravels into a spiral of bitterness, mistrust and tragedy.

In recent years, Godard’s inability to evolve his ideological beliefs beyond 1968 have left him looking like a didactic, old grouch. Back in the sixties however, the man was tossing out bricolage masterpieces like Bande à Part (1964), Pierrot le Fou (1965) and Masculin-Féminine (1966) with astonishing ease. Along with Alphaville, Contempt stands as one of his most accessible films, probably because it adopts an atypical three-act structure and a glossy, Hollywood style façade. However, Godard’s use of these facets is remarkably subversive as adapts the story-structure into a narrative both realistic and allegorical (drawing parallels between American cultural imperialism and ancient Greece), playing with Coutard’s colour saturated prettiness as shorthand for his themes, and honing a crafty parody of the Odyssey. All that plus topless mermaids, post-modernist trickery and witty gags like the moment Prokosch flings a 35mm film canister like a discus. “At last you have a feeling for Greek culture”, Fritz Lang observes dryly.

Loosely adapting a novel called The Ghosts of Noon by Alberto Moravia (whose insightful writing Godard gave too little credit), the Nouvelle Vague examines the age-old conflicts between art and commerce, men and women, the haves and the have-nots, yet also makes this a genuinely tragic love story. In an intentional irony, it is Paul’s desire to provide a secure lifestyle for his wife that drives him to sell his soul and alienate her so deeply. And yet he is guilty of taking Camille for granted, dismissing her intelligence and at one stage calling her “a stupid, twenty-eight year old typist”, even though she sees through his intellectual vanity. The centrepiece of the film is the extraordinary sequence where Godard tracks the slow disintegration of Paul and Camille’s marriage, transforming the simple sight of husband and wife talking into exciting, insightful cinema. Delerue’s music really comes into its own here.

It was Godard’s intention to draw out a more reserved, bourgeois side Bardot’s screen persona, although producers Carlo Ponti and Joseph E. Levine (the alleged inspiration for Palance’s venal producer) were aghast at the absence of nudity. Godard’s ingenious ‘compromise’ was the now-famous, multi-coloured opening scene where Bardot lists various parts of her anatomy. Strangely, nobody ever mentions the dreamy scenes where the pouty-lipped golden goddess rolls naked on a furry rug, a far more memorably titillating instance of eye-candy. That said, it’s Bardot’s performance that should be praised along with the sublime turns from Piccoli, Palance and Lang. If their characters are the modern incarnations of Greek heroes in heroines, we’re left in no doubt by the end whom Godard regards as the new gods - as he ends the film with a slow zoom into the all-consuming camera’s eye.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3592 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: