Contempt

1964

Contempt

Critics Consensus

This powerful work of essential cinema joins "meta" with "physique," casting Brigite Bardot and director Godard's inspiration Fritz Lang.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 54

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,836
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Movie Info

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.

Cast

Brigitte Bardot
as Camille Javal
Michel Piccoli
as Paul Javal
Jack Palance
as Jeremiah Prokosch
Georgia Moll
as Francesca Vanini
Giorgia Moll
as Francesca Vanini
Fritz Lang
as Himself
Linda Veras
as Mermaid
Raoul Coutard
as Cameraman
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Critic Reviews for Contempt

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Contempt

  • Jul 22, 2014
    Godard's constant self-centered intellectualism overflow and his constant cascades of artistic, philosophic and cinematic influences have never been a problem to me. Even if he wants to use cinema as an artistic medium to transform the dialogues, the characters, the references and the landscapes into a repetitive reflection of his own perception of the world and the meaning of art in life, such perception is fascinating. His ideas have a tremendous depth which only flaw is not to listen to the ideas of others. I suppose that being a genius comes with a prize. But that's not the issue here. <i>Week End</i> (1967) and <i>La Chinoise</i> (1967) would be two of his most flawless, brilliant and impressionistic masterpieces of his whole canon. Both share a sense of disaster and turmoil, and both focus more on the impressions caused by the symbolisms and the imagery. <i>Le Mépris</i> is the first film to rely on this visual technique to explore the psychology of the characters. Does it work fully? Not quite! Despite how ahead-of-its-time it looks, it doesn't seem to work because dialogues drag. The situations do not drag, as some claim them to do, but the speeches. Characters seem to be reiterating points already stated. But if they keep talking, that probably means that they haven't really gotten to the point. But the point remains the same. But they keep talking, and the scene keeps rolling. Tárr never drags. Godard dragged, and there was no point in repointintg out the pointed out point. Was this a stepping stone? Maybe it was, but maybe Godard himself realized that the impact caused by the style of <I>Le Mépris</i> was never totally justified by its ideas, even if they were metafilm... heck, even if the movie starred Fritz Lang himself! I won't deny how perfect Bardot's body is in spite of her face, and how epic is to see an Expressionism/Noir master to participate with what I think were his own mental contributions, but this ambitious style would finally find its proper place in 1967, not here, even if it was pretty much worth it. After all, some of us are suckers for stories about frustrated relationships carried out completely by a tiny cast, dialogue and engaging performances. This is not Linklater's "Before Trilogy". It goes beyond just because of the handful of topics it deals with regarding art and business, and that's an undeniable achievement. 86/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2012
    Of the little I've seen him I'm finding it very hard to enjoy a Godard movie. I can appreciate his directing style, but his films seem to very bland in my eyes. I still do have to see Breathless though. In this film, Contempt, it felt like Godard was trying to immigrate Fellini's films La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2. I didn't feel an originality, or anything to make me interested. Outside a wonderful use of colors and cinematography there wasn't to much in this film
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 30, 2011
    Truth is that this movie is actually famous because of Brigitte Badot was in it and she was at the peak of her hotness. I didnt enjoy it as much as I should, the pace is a bit too slow for me and it got tedious at times.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2011
    Godard's first major international picture is a visual feast. The use of Cinescope is startling and the colors are so brilliant that they seem to leap off the screen. Godard also utilizes some of the subtly hypnotic camera work that we saw in his previous films. For instance, in one conversation between Camille and Paul, Godard lifts a scene verbatim from 1962's Vivre Sa Vie. Aside from the camera work, the film is a heartbreaking look at the disintegration of a marriage, the price of selling out, and the constant tug of war between the classical and the modern. It moves at a snail's pace but once you get a feel for it, it can at times be rather touching. With that said, I feel like Godard missed a lot of opportunities to achieve a genuine catharsis. The ambiguity of Bardot's contempt for her husband places a wall between the characters and the viewer. While I can appreciate ambiguity, in a film which centers on a single relationship I think the audience needs more to run with. On top of this, Palance's performance seemed to rub me the wrong way. I know that he is the greedy American producer, but his performance seemed way too over the top to be believable. While not Godard's best, it is definitely worth a watch.
    Reid V Super Reviewer

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