Critic Consensus: This powerful work of essential cinema joins "meta" with "physique," casting Brigite Bardot and director Godard's inspiration Fritz Lang.
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Critic Reviews for Contempt
Possibly Godard's most melancholy film and probably his most beautiful ...
What's the price of selling out? Contempt asks the question of its characters, its audience, and its own director.
Godard sets interesting scenes, with provocative color combinations and a suggestive pictorial flow. But out of it all comes nothing -- or very little that tells you why this wife is so contemptuous of her husband. Maybe he should be contemptuous of her!
Contempt was Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 attempt at a big-budget, big- star production, and more or less satisfied his curiosity.
Audience Reviews for Contempt
A powerful and devastating story that depicts with painful honesty the gradual dismantling of a marriage triggered by an ambiguous lack of trust, and it is a big-budget Godard gem that blends sentiment and intellectual musings in a very unique way.
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.
"There's nothing like the movies. Usually, when you see women, they're dressed. But put them in a movie, and you see their backsides." Paul Javal is a writer who is hired to make a script for a new movie about Ulysses more commercial, which is to be directed by Fritz Lang and produced by Jeremy Prokosch. But because he let his wife Camille drive with Prokosch and he is late, she believes, he uses her as a sort of present for Prokosch to get get a better payment.
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