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  • Contempt (Widescreen) [2 Discs] (The Criterion Collection)
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Contempt (Widescreen) [2 Discs] (The Criterion Collection)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli, Giorgia Moll, Fritz Lang
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Writers: Jean-Luc Godard, Alberto Moravia
  • Producers: Carlo Ponti, Georges de Beauregard, Joseph E. Levine
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion / Paradox
  • Release Date: Dec 17 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKPT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,876 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Jean-Luc Godard's subversive foray into commercial filmmaking is a star-studded Cinemascope epic. Contempt (Le M pris) stars Michel Piccoli as a screenwriter torn between the demands of a proud European director (played by legendary director Fritz Lang), a crude and arrogant American producer (Jack Palance), and his disillusioned wife, Camille (Brigitte Bardot) as he attempts to doctor the script for a new film version of The Odyssey.


With his aptly titled Contempt, Jean-Luc Godard embraced the widescreen splendor of Hollywood while thumbing his nose at Hollywood itself. A rebel with a cause, Godard pursues an iconoclast's agenda, using the Franscope format (expertly controlled by cinematographer Raoul Coutard) to undermine the grandeur of widescreen melodramas. The story ostensibly concerns an innovative production of Homer's Odyssey and the struggle of a respected screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) to please a pugnacious producer (Jack Palance), a veteran director (Fritz Lang, essentially playing himself), and a petulant wife (Brigitte Bardot) who's grown tired of their turbulent relationship. It's all pretense, however, for Godard's mischievous (and yes, contemptuous) deconstruction of commercial Hollywood filmmaking, potently infused with film-buff in-jokes, astute observations about love, stardom, and artistry, and enough glossy style to suggest that Godard had mastered the craft he so willfully rejects. Contempt is one of his most accessibly fascinating films. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
Bardot is actually an excellent actress in this film. Her body gets a lot of attention and there are plenty of shots of her lying in the sun naked but she gives her character depth. Strangley enough when she walks around wearing a black wig she looks very plain, not at all like a movie star. Perhaps the most striking thing about this film is that though it was Godards first color film he manages to use color brilliantly. The film was shot in Italy and reminds me of a Michelangelo Antonioni film as it is a story of two lovers who fail to communicate and thus let their love slip away.
Jack Palance is perfect as the headstrong producer who manipulates his director Fritz Lang (who plays himself), as well as his writer (Michel Piccoli). Palance is the ultimate megalomaniacal producer who enjoys dominating others and manipulating them into doing whatever he wants. The confident and poised Lang acts like the master that he is, he never loses his cool and he copes with Palance's outrageous tantrums as if they were nothing at all, and we can see that despite Palance's constant intereference Lang will make the film that he wants. But the young, sensitive writer is made to feel like a whore. And this explains why he begins to treat his wife like a whore. Piccoli does not seem to want to admit what he is doing but he seems to push his wife into the arms of Palance intentionally so she too will feel the way he does. The script is based on an Alberto Moravia novel and this is a classic Moravia scenario. Moravia was fascinated with prostitutes and so was Godard -- ie My Life to Live.
The husband and wife both feel like whores and so they feel contempt for themselves as well as each other.
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By L. Burel on Oct. 22 2003
Format: DVD
What a great movie that is and i saw it 20 times. This is a great transfer with the original movie opening (credits) for me this is the perfect movie ever made, Brigitte Bardot is rather gorgeous and plays Camille in a very passive way, the movie is full of rich colourRed Blue and White, a very intelligent movie and i like the movie inside the movie, A great Cast too Michel Piccoli playing Brigitte husband, Fritz lanf playing himself as the great Film director and Jack Palance playing the american producer . The movie was shot in Capri and the music is simply
haunting. For me this is the perfect movie, and it feeds all my senses, great photography by Raoul Coutard, stunning Location and a very stunning Brigitte Bardot who can prove that she was rather a good actress.THE EXTRAS ARE AMAZING TOO, A VERY RARE DOCUMENTARY MADE ABOUT BB "PAPARAZZI" SHOWING A PURSUED Brigitte. and a couple of interesting interviews of Fritz Lang and Jean Luc Goddard. IF YOU MUST BUY A GODDARD MOVIE THIS IS THE ONE TO ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION. SIMPLY INTELLIGENT AND THE OPENING SCENE Of BB AND Piccoli (when she asked him if she likes her body and ...) is a very arty nude scene added by goddard to please the american producer.One of BB BEST MOVIE ALONG WITH THE TRUTH (Made by Clouzot).I LOVE IT !!!
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By A Customer on Aug. 8 2003
Format: DVD
This CRITERION edition of "Contempt" gives the cinema buff plenty of causes of rejoicing. Not only does it offer a terrific cinemascope version of the film, but also a lot of valuable bonus material.
Now, into the film itself. One can suspect that European filmmaking is and has been boring and pedantic. Particularly, as regards the Nouvelle Vague, and its author-directors, it seems to be so, on the face of it. But if you make the allowances that should be made and take that for granted, you'll be able to enjoy a kind of art that has enomous values.
Watching "Contempt" one is never sure what its director's intentions are. Apparently, to mock much of the tradicional way the films were made was one ot its aims. Both technically and thematically, the desire to transgress and parody is evident. It is good, nevertheless, to open new avenues to creativity in any field.
This is probably one of the best films ever made on cinema making and couple splitting. Forget our fast-paced and overwhelmingly charged (with special effects) contemporary movies. This is the opposite pole. Something of a play, very well written, and very well acted by most of the cast. We see how a married couple breaks off, because of the "contempt" the wife has been developing towards the man. Many quotations, references to other films and directors (Rossellini, Hawks, Ray, Hitchcock, etc.), an erudite script and creative directorial style are the attractions of this film. Also, Brigitte Bardot, nude at the peak of her splendor, and the opportunity to see the great Fritz Lang playing himself.
"The dinosaur and the baby" is an interview to Lang by Godard. With me, it has been a little disappointing. On the one hand, Godard looks (or looked) like an introvert, a not very nice person.
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Format: DVD
This was a good film. It's slow-moving by today's standards and I doubt many younger filmgoers would have the patience to sit through many of its lengthy sequences, where admittedly, little "happens" on screen. That's Godard's style and what gives his movies their unique approach. That's the charm and this film's full of it. The conversations and communications between the characters in this film seem so believable and "genuine" that it's hard to immagine this is performance by actors reading a script. It seems too improvised and natural and "documentary" in style, that you could almost accuse Jean Luc Godard of making "fake" reality TV years before its time. (It's much better than reality TV however in that Godard's characters are far more exotic and interesting).
This DVD is presented in a tight 2.85:1 widescreen ratio from Cinemascope film in full color. The colors are vibrant and Godard makes excellent use of the panoramic widecsreen composition in all his shots. It's a visual treat throughout. The audio commentary is insightful and will enrich your appreciation of the film. Bardot's performance is stunning. My favorite aspect was in seeing Fritz Lang play himself. He must've been a very fascinating and brilliant man.
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