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Contempt (Widescreen) [2 Discs] (The Criterion Collection) (Bilingual)
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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
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- 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
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"
- BD Live
- 20-pages colour booklet
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.Read more ›
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 !!!
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Good quality disc. Good choice if you are curious about the film but don't want to spend the money on the high end Criterion edition.Published 17 months ago by nobody
Approximately 80% of this movie looks glorious. Very vivid. The other 20% is sub par in my opinion. If you already own the Criterion version, you might want to think twice before... Read morePublished on March 19 2010 by Jason Armstrong
Regarded by some as Godard's most accessible movie, I beg to differ: Godard has survived because of the freshness and charm of his best films, not as most fawning critics would... Read morePublished on May 14 2004 by jbn 63
I prefer this film to Fellini's 8 1/2 and there are some similarities. They were made at the same time and they were the first two post-modern films. In this one B.B. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2003 by Adam Bernstein
If Jean-Luc Godard hated commercial film producers, why did he make a movie for them? To make some adolescent point about how he, The Brave Artist, would never be cowed by the... Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2003 by Matthew Patton
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... Read morePublished on June 30 2003 by E. Dolnack
did you know that the opening of this film by goddard was not in his original script? yes, the opening segment with the nude bardot and piccoli was added on after post-production... Read morePublished on June 24 2003 by takezo
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... Read morePublished on June 22 2003 by J. Christal
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