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Contempt

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Overview

Contempt is the story of the end of a marriage. Camille Brigitte Bardot falls out of love with her husband Paul Michel Piccoli while he is rewriting the screenplay Odyssey by American producer Jeremiah Prokosch Jack Palance. Just as the director of Prokosch's film, Fritz Lang, says that The Odyssey is the story of individuals confronting their situations in a real world, Le Mépris itself is an examination of the position of the filmmaker in the commercial cinema. Godard himself was facing this situation in the ...
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Overview

Contempt is the story of the end of a marriage. Camille Brigitte Bardot falls out of love with her husband Paul Michel Piccoli while he is rewriting the screenplay Odyssey by American producer Jeremiah Prokosch Jack Palance. Just as the director of Prokosch's film, Fritz Lang, says that The Odyssey is the story of individuals confronting their situations in a real world, Le Mépris itself is an examination of the position of the filmmaker in the commercial cinema. Godard himself was facing this situation in the production of Le Mépris. Italian producer Carlo Ponti had given him the biggest budget of his career, and he found himself working with a star of Bardot's magnitude for the first time.
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Special Features

Introduction by Colin MacCabe, Godard expert; "Once Upon a Time There Was... Contempt": Documentary on the film ; "Contempt...Tenderly": Documentary on the film; Converation with Fritz Lang ; "The Dinosaur and the Baby": Discussion between directors Jean-Luc Godard and Fritz Lang; Trailer
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
Few French New Wave filmmakers had the opportunity Jean-Luc Godard enjoyed with Contempt -- to make a color, Cinemascope film starring Brigitte Bardot. But when the first cut was delivered, American producer Joseph E. Levine demanded that nudity be added. Godard, ever the iconoclast, inserted a shot scanning the French starlet's bare body, plus some bizarre, color-changing cuts. It wasn't a move to arouse audiences as much as to get commercial obligations out of the way -- which is right in line with the story of the film. Michel Piccoli stars as Paul Pavel, a writer who resentfully sells out with his screen adaptation of Homer's Odyssey. Jack Palance plays Jerry Prokosch, the ugly-American producer in charge, who also horns in on Pavel's bored wife Camille Bardot as part of this bargain for fame. It's no coincidence that Godard was not on good terms with Levine. Palance plays his part so sleazily well that you might believe the actor wasn't in on the joke, and Bardot does more to prove herself as an actress than tarnish her sex-kitten image. Through all this, Contempt carries a mournful tone, the gradual dissolution of Pavel and Camille's marriage paralleling the troubled production. For Godard, the film is also a bereavement for his real-life parting with actress Anna Karina Bardot at one point dons a Karina-like black wig, as well as a sad nostalgia for a bygone era of cinema, embodied in the aged, subservient director of Pavel's Odyssey, Fritz Lang who appears as himself. As movies-about-making-movies go, this is Godard through and through, from its impulsive structuralism to its bitter, contemptuous humor.
All Movie Guide
While not Jean Luc Godard's best movie, Le Mepris (Contempt) offers one of his most fascinating moviegoing experiences. Like many of Godard's films, this one is about many things at once. It is a relationship drama, a modern-day retelling of Homer's The Odyssey, and it is also about art and the conflict between commercialization and artistic expression. And, most famously, it is also a big in-joke. The title is undoubtedly a stab at the producers of the film, Carlo Ponti and Joseph E. Levine. It was Godard's first foray into big-budget filmmaking and his first use of a star of the magnitude of Brigitte Bardot. The producers, worried about making their money back, began to request that the director make changes in the movie. Of course, someone as independent and radical as Godard did not take kindly to this. So, when Ponti asked him why he did not have a nude scene exploiting the popularity of Bardot, Godard gave him a nude scene (the one that opens the movie). Of course, he undermines it by making Bardot question whether her husband (Michel Piccoli) likes her different body parts. This change not only makes the scene more about insecurity than sexuality but also interrogates the idea of what makes a nude scene and why somebody would be drawn to it. Godard also has his stand-in, Fritz Lang, respond to the fact that he had to shoot the film in CinemaScope (which looks fantastic) by saying, "CinemaScope is fine for snakes and coffins, but not for people." It's no surprise that the producer in the film, Jack Palance in a hilariously obscene role, reads quick philosophical snippets from a tiny book of quotations. Following his experience on Le Mepris, Godard went into perhaps his greatest period as a director, always on his own terms.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/16/2010
  • UPC: 012236107811
  • Original Release: 1963
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: AB
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed
  • Time: 1:43:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 2,726

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Brigitte Bardot Camille Javal
Michel Piccoli Paul Javal
Jack Palance Jeremy Prokosch
Fritz Lang Himself
Giorgia Moll Francesca Vanini
Technical Credits
Jean-Luc Godard Director
Carlo Ponti Producer
William Robert Sivel Sound/Sound Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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