HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
Bitter Springs
Centipede Horror
Physical Evidence
Fanny Lye Deliver'd
55 Days at Peking
Alive
Man from Snowy River, The
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo
Girl with the Bracelet, The
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet
   
 
Newest Articles
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
   
 
  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 3161 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: