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on July 30, 2011
A few shots don't seem to fit picture quality of a Blu-ray disc:
TC 00:27:22-40;
- total = 5'21"

Runtime: 1:42'56"; 24 fps
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1, (orig.)
Audio: GB, F, D, E
ST: GB, F, D, E, NL, DK, N, SU, S, JPN
Region Code: A, B
Chpt.: 12
Dual Layer, 47 GB (Film: 29 GB)
- Introduction by Colin MacCabe [author of
"J.-L. Godard - Portrait of the Artist at Seventy"; faber&faber] 5'31"
- "Contempt"; 52'28"
- "Le Mepris... tenderly"; 31'31"
- J.-L. Godard talks to Fritz Lang, 1:00'57"
- Encounter with Fritz Lang" by P. Fleischmann, 14'27"
- Trailer
- BD Live
- 20-pages colour booklet
- Digipak
Studio: Canal
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on December 14, 2003
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. The husband wonders aloud why commerce must invade every aspect of our lives and by that he means both art and love but he seems powerless to win his wife back. Though the film began with the loving couple laying in bed and whispering to each other, it ends on quite a different note. Palance, Lang, and Piccoli all interpret Homers Odyssey in their own way. Each views the relationship between Odysseus and Penelope according to their own life situation. Palance and Piccoli cease to find the film all that interesting, they are only interested in the battle for Bardot. Lang alone remains focused on the actual film. For Lang the world of the Greeks is too far removed from our own experince of the world and so he reinvents the story so it will resonate with modern audiences and he does so by brilliantly quoting from select texts (Dante, Holderlein)and thus he tells the tale as if it were taking place in the world we know today--as Lang reimagines the tale each scene takes on new significance. And of course the way Lang thinks and works sounds a lot like the way Godard thinks and works.
An excellent film which can be appreciated by Godard fans and a good place to start for those not familiar with Godard.
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on October 22, 2003
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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on August 8, 2003
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. And Lang was at the time an old man, very happy of course of the admiration the rampant youths from the Nouvelle Vague professed for him. Neither of them communicates very well -the interview was made in 1967- and what they have to say is relatively interesting. We'd better watch their achievements as directors. At one point, Lang says, very sensibly, that a director speaks with his films. If he has to explain them away, he is not as valuable as that.
At any rate, this film is a masterpiece, and up to now, the best work for the screen that I've seen relating to the crisis in a couple -forget "Eyes withe shut", for example-. It is enjoyable, too, and you get the desire to watch it many times and know more about it and its makers. So, it is money well spent to purchase this faboulous Criterion edition.
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on June 30, 2003
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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on June 22, 2003
Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt is abstract at times, analystic at most, and full of the contemptuous vibes that deliver the film its title, and, indeed, consistently interesting entry in the Godard catalog of work. It examines a lead character in a bit of a sense like how Fellini examined a lead in 8 1/2, except that while in that he toyed and illuminated his fantasies about his struggles in filmmaking process, Godard slums in it, though with a carefully tuned attitude and style. He knows he's making an "art" film as much as he's making a "commercial" film, and that adds to its appeal. Like a good number of his films it's off putting at times, but the way the characters look into the film within the film, in this case the Odyssey, as well as they essentially do for this one, Goddard has made a fascinating hybrid on the workings of Hollywood.
His lead is played by Michael Piccoli, who like Fellini's Mastorianni is the torn screenwriter, torn in this case in three directions- one by a commercial producer (Jack Palance) who wants the production to be epic but has many reservations about the craft; another by a legendary director (all the more so since Lang is playing himself) who is only interested in the art of it, like when he views slides and shots of old Greek statues and such, and Palance chucks the film around the room; the last by his wife, played by the beautiful (if slightly depressing) Bridget Bardot who has as many or more inner demons as her husband. Their conversation, which lasts a longish if hypnotic half an hour, gives Bardot her spotlight in the picture.
Like an Odyssey of sorts the film becomes, lending itself to Godard's focus on the aspect of the idea of characters breaking down, and how the atmosphere he creates is one that can understandably make anyone crack. Contempt isn't a milestone for the filmmaker, but it's watchable as a second or third film to introduce the common viewer to Godard, and for film buffs it provides a wide, captivating glimpse of the film world for film buffs.
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on June 20, 2003
even though i like the entire godard's filmography i probably think this is my favorite movie made by the french director.starting by the music(in the italian version i ve heard the producer changed the arcs with a jazz soundtrack...i do love jazz,but i think arcs are so powerfull,i can't personally imagine this movie with something different...) and goin on.all the movies based on cinema are usually terrific(actually i can think just of 8 and a half(fellini),but i know there are many movies based on the same subject) and i think this parallelism with the ancient greece is simply intelligent,fascinating.the director,his girlfriend and the producer are at the same time ulysses,penelope and the "proci"....the producer and all what is involved with him.his relationship with the directors(lang and piccoli)and his will of being god."i know how they feel.."he sayd.and we do know godard and all the critics who used to work for th cahiers du cinema and later in life made up the "nouvelle vague" wished the director to be god in that moment,while workin....godard then deals with the landscape and the way to see it.the characters looking at the sea,opening up to the world of the possibility.and so on...
i usually don't write reviews i think this movie really deserves it though...
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on March 23, 2003
The Italian writer Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli) is hired to write a screenplay about Homer's Odyssey which will be directed by the German director Fritz Lang (himself) and produced by the American producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance). Jeremy begins to flirt openly with Paul's wife, Camille (Brigitte Bardot), and ends up asking if the couple wants to visit his place for drinks. Jeremy also asks Camille if she wants to go with him in the car to his place. Unfortunately, there is only room for two individuals in his red Alpha Romeo. Camille is hesitant, but Paul encourages her to go with Jeremy. Paul gets delayed on his way to Jeremy's place and when he arrives he finds himself being met by Camille with some resistance. When the couple goes home to their newly acquired apartment, a discussion begins where Camille's resistance ends up with open contempt for Paul. Contempt is an analysis of human relationships where trust, communication, and care is in the focus through the lens of Jean-Luc Godard. The film provides a sublime opportunity for the audience to view the actions and consequences of a variety of individuals and see how these individuals converge intellectually and emotionally in the project on which they work. The result of the screening is a brilliant experience that provides chance for pondering and reflection over the characters' actions as well as the directing and cinematography.
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on January 30, 2003
With his subversively titled Le Mepris or CONTEMPT from 1964, Jean-Luc Godard played Hollywood widescreen games while dissing Hollywood itself. Godard undermines the epic Franscope scale with an intimate look at an arrogant producer's attempt to make a modern version of Homer's Odyssey.
Jack Palance is terrific as the combative producer and the great Fritz Lang essentially plays himself as the vetaran director of the film within the film. In a serious but still sex-pot turn, Brigitte Bardot is the pouty director's wife who's fed up with their termagant relationship. And at the center of the conflict is the screenwriter who's trying to please everyone.
This extremely entertaining film with lots of in-jokes about movies is Godard's take on fame, art, and love itself.
The loaded two disc set features a pristine transfer with a wonderful commentary by Robert Stam. Bonus material includes a conversation between Godard and Lang; two 1963 documentaries -- Godard and Bardot on the set of Contempt and Paparazzi. A 1964 Godard interview and a new video interview with acclaimed cinematographer Raoul Coutard.
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on December 30, 2002
Criterion does it again. A wonderful, fascinating 1963 film rescued from terrible, faded prints and murky video transfers and made to look - like Criterion's equally outstanding refurbishment of Fellini's "Juliet of the Spirits" - almost like a brand-new movie; as clean and as beautiful as I have ever seen it. Not everyone will "get" what Jean-Luc Godard is up to with "Contempt", and some will get it but still not care for it - fair enough. He never claimed to be making movies for every audience any more than he claimed to be making them for rarefied elites, nevertheless a broad spectrum of us do understand and appreciate his artistic project (of which this is one sublime outcome), and if you can suspend for two hours the narrow, conventional expectations Hollywood product has cultivated in many of us, that number may include you. Robert Stam's alternate-channel audio commentary provides many interesting insights regarding the significance and filmmaking innovations of "Contempt", along with superb analysis of the sources of the story (in Homer and recent Italian literature) and the performances, and some information regarding how the movie came to be cast and produced, which goes a long way toward explaining why Godard made the movie he eventually made. "Contempt" may be Godard's most "conventional" film, but then art is not only about innovation, but also about mastery. If the performances are not always so subtle they are nevertheless wonderfully nuanced, including that of the great director (and non-actor) Fritz Lang, and Brigitte Bardot - still at the apogee of her Gallic voluptuousness - reveals a depth unimagined by those quick to dismiss her bathtub sex kitten persona - not to mention, most of her legendarily beautiful naked body, in Technicolor and CinemaScope. It's as much about how things don't work in a relationship as it is about how they don't work (for the purposes of art) in the movie business, and is as relevant to both subjects today as forty years ago. The second disc supplements include interesting and enjoyable interviews (especially the conversation between Jean-Luc Godard and Fritz Lang), and a short subject about Bardot and the photographers who followed her around relentlessly ("Paparazzi") that's just fun. Disc two also features the perfect antidote to today's movie trailers that go on and on and spoil everything: the one for "Contempt" shows you images from the film but manages to reveal almost nothing about it! This was a home run, Criterion - thank you, thank you, thank you!
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