"Contempt"(1963) is directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The film is interesting in that it encircles a given second in time when Camille Javal (Brigette Bardot) looses her love for Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), unlike most films that would follow a linear progression from love to contempt. When Paul realizes his error it is too late and from then on he is constantly seen out of sync with Camille.
As with many of Godard's films this one is also about a film within a film, or a film about film. Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M) acts as an director late in his life who is forced to compromise himself to commercial film in order to make a living. Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) is the American producer who is only concerned with making money and showing off his female actors assets just as Godard was asked by his producers with respect to Bardot. The movie Fritz Lang is making is an adaptation of Homer's Odyssey that Paul is hired to rework so as to make it more commercially viable. The classical characters of Penelope, Odysseus and Poseidon parallel Camille, Paul, and Jeremy. Paul seems to understand and relate his predicament with Camille to Penelope interpreting that Camille has lost her love for him because she believes that he has tried to leave her, just as Odysseus left Penelope for many years to journey the world because he was possibly trying to avoid her. Whether this is true or not, Paul only half heartedly tries to regain her love for him which only serves to further widen the rift between them. Camille never really comes out and says why she has lost her love for him and we are left trying to put the pieces together wondering if this is merely a lover's game or not. There is a curious balance between Paul's interest in her, and his indifference to her, that inevitably seems to push her away from him. Maybe she is just too young for him, or he is not stimulated intellectually by her, we don't know, but she is instinctively repelled by this indifference which crystalized at that moment, that second, when Paul seemed to push Camille to ride alone with Jeremy on the short drive to his house.
This is the French release of the film which is multilingual with English subtitles, as opposed to the American or Italian releases which were dubbed. This is also the full 103 minute version, whereas the Italian version was cut down to 82 minutes. The restored print looks great overall with only a few blemishes, and the blu-ray disc is in 1080p with CinemaScope 2.35:1. There are many special features, such as an introduction by Colin MacCabe, and a couple of documentaries about the film: "Once Upon a Time There Was...Contempt", and "Contempt...Tenderly". There is also a conversation with Fritz Lang, and in "The Dinosaur and the Baby" a discussion between Fritz Lang, and Jean-Luc Godard, as well as a booklet with an essay by Ginette Vincendeau.