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MissGoddess

CONTEMPT

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I will be going to see this Godard movie on Saturday for the first time. Does anyone have any comments about it?

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I?ve only seen it twice, once on Bravo and once after I bought the DVD, and I found each viewing a little tedious. It?s not my favorite Bardot (or Godard - I prefer his outings with Anna Karina) but it?s worth knowing.

 

The husband?s character seems too staid, too inward, to be a writer, but then if he were more observant and more intuitive, he wouldn?t find himself in the situation he does and we would have no movie. (Or maybe we would have a better movie.) Not being a French speaker, I?m sure I miss subtleties. And I hate that damned wig.

 

I?m also not crazy about how Palance?s character, as a symbol of Hollywood filmmaking, (or of Americans in general) is ridiculed, or so it seemed to me.

 

But I liked the photography very much. The opening scene is certainly compelling, and I recall seeing worn and faded Hollywood western ad art featured on the exterior walls of the movie studio, which I thought a nice touch. The scenes with Bardot and her husband at home can be intriguing. The scenery is certainly beautiful and BB is always fun to watch.

 

But like I said, it?s worth knowing, and Godard-heads seem to like it. I hope they chime in here, cuz I could use some insight on it myself.

 

Enjoy.

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Hi Lucky! Thank you for your insights. Somehow, I've always missed this movie when it came on tv and never managed to seek it out though I've seen many of BB's other films.

 

So who's wig do you hate? ;)

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Cute.

 

I suppose I walked right in to that one, didn't I? I was so pleased at myself for having gotten through all that with no typos (that I noticed) I didn't think about sentence placement. I was referring (this time) to the leading lady's wig.

 

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I rarely watch the Imports but I will be up for this one, I like Bardot for no reason other than her films are fun fluff. Godard I'm not such a fan of...early in my film watching days I rather enjoyed the idea of him/New Wave filmmakers and I liked Band of Outsiders....but like I said, early in my film watching days...

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So does BB wear that wig all the way through? I hope not! I love her fluffy blonde hair. I had no idea she wore such a wig in this movie, but then I know nothing at all about the movie! I'll be sure to post here about it after I've seen it this weekend.

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Mercifully, she wears it only briefly, in what is probably a pivotal scene. One reviewer I read after I posted last night suggested that Godard used it as a reference to Anna Karina.

 

If you don't know much about the movie, then there may be one or two other little surpises for you that I don't want to spoil.

 

Looking forward to your thoughts on it. Enjoy.

 

Message was edited by: LuckyDan

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Bardot's black wig is used for only a small segment of the film when she and Paul are in the apartment. The wig gives her a similar look to Godard's then wife Anna Karina and the film is somewhat of a commentary on their disintegrating marriage.

 

It?s also important to note the American film references here. While French New Wave directors often loved to show their influences, in this film those influences tend to have actual connections with the story. One such incident is when Paul gets in the bathtub with his hat on. Camille asks what he is doing and he replies: ?I?m Dean Martin in Some Came Running (1958).? This link gives us insight into Paul?s character, as Dean Martin?s ?Bama? is clearly a misogynist who treats women as little more than toys. Some Came Running and Contempt also have ties in that both films deal with relationships and hypocrisy.

 

As for Palance?s character, he is a stand-in for the actual American producer who demanded Godard show Bardot in various states of undress to titillate viewers and sell the film. Godard acquiesced by showing Bardot?s naked body at the beginning of the film, slapping us in the face with her curves. By doing this, he removes expectations of sex and lets us see Camille as a real person instead of Bardot playing a character.

 

The breakdown of a marriage is not a light subject. John Cassavetes Faces (1968) is downright harrowing, while Bergman?s Scenes From a Marriage (1973) is realistic and hopeful, but neither could ever be called beautiful. Contempt alone can make such a claim.

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Thank you---you've piqued my interest in the movie even more; I didn't realize it was about a marriage.

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It's actually about much more than that. Contempt also deals with the art of filmaking and Cinema's place in the world. Fritz Lang plays himself as a director making a film version of the Odyssey, which again has all kinds of references and links to the characters.

 

This is a very complex work, but it's pretty easy to watch and has amazing visuals. As was mentioned at SSO, the score to this film is wonderful and is an intregal part of the movie. I told you earlier, I've been working on an article for this. I hoped to have it finished by Sunday, but with a film this deep, I'm not sure it's possible on short notice!

 

I hope you post your comments here and at SSO after you see the film.

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J'ai observ? le film. J'ai pens? que c'?tait correct mais pas un chef d'oeuvre. La musique ?tait jolie et triste et Carpri ?tait joli en tant que toujours. Au moins j'ai eu quelques id?es pour des coiffures de BB. I bien que Jack Palance ait ?t? excellent en tant que producteur de film de Hollywood. J'ai su beaucoup comme lui quand j'?tais l?.

 

SUBTITLES: In other words, I saw it, thought is was okay but not great---BB's hair was great, though! :P And so was Capri, what there was to see of it. The music was lovely. I think the marriage needed to end from the beginning. I don't like Michel Piccoli---he has the same expression in every movie. Jack Palance was excellent as the Hollywood movie producer. I knew many like him when I was there. He looked great, by the way, very handsome in a beautifully tailored suit!!!

 

This is the hairstyle I think I like best:

 

20061017contempt-bardot.jpg

 

Sorry, I guess I'm just to superficial for these movies! :D But I thought Fritz Lang was a darling! So gallant, and such beautiful manners....

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Glad you had a chance to view it. TCM Programmer says tonight's print is not so hot.

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The print the Film Forum had was excellent! Very nearly flawless and they showed it in the widescreen theater (not the dinky one where all the United Artists movies are being screened). It was "held over" so I guess a lot of people came to see it early in the run. Today the theater was quite empty (but Billy Wilder's The Apartment had a line out the door).

 

I saw previews of Pierre le Fou and Masculin et Feminin, neither of which I've seen. Do they both star that girl you all say is in many Godard movies? The one who may have "inspired" him to put BB in that wretched black wig? I noticed a brunette actress in both previews and figured it must be her. Was she his wife/mistress/muse? I love how French directors had "muses" back then. :P

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Pierrot Le Fou does indeed star Anna Karina, but Masculin Feminin does not. If you want to see a good Anna film, you might start with MY LIFE TO LIVE (Vivre Sa Vie) (1962).

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I recommend that you take a look at *A Woman Is A Woman* (1961) also. Karina's first film with Godard is his most playful and you can tell that he simply adores her.

 

--

Terry Wallace

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Wow! You talk French real good! Quel revue!

 

So Palance's character was pretty accurate? I hate hearing that, but I agree he was good in it. And I'm not all that big a fan of his. Something about him always struck me as vulgar. Next to BB, he is the most lively presence in the movie and things finally seem to move along when he's in the room.

 

Lang was one of the surprises I was referring to. I don't know if you knew about his involvement before hand but I thought you would appreciate him.

 

Here are some pix of Miss Karina, for those who don't know her. A charming actress.

 

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Message was edited by: LuckyDan

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Thanks LuckyDan and Terry. I tend to prefer these "New Wave" films with my favorite blondes (BB or Deneuve) but I won't turn away if TCM airs any of the ones with Karina.

 

Nice pix. That hairstyle definitely suits her more than it did BB.

 

I thought Lang was marvelous. I know I would have adored him had I met him in real life. Un vrai gentilhomme. EVERYONE seemed vulgar next to him, Jack was just the apotheosis. :P

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Ahhhh...Anna Karina! I loved her in A Woman is a Woman (1961). Another great Godard film. The scene where the two lovers are arguing without speaking, using titles from books on the living room shelves to speak for them is one of my favorites. Fantastic!

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Last night I watched the "bonus disc" to the Criterion Collection's dvd set of CONTEMPT and wanted to encourage people to see it if they can, because it contains some really interesting interviews with Fritz Lang. Through them, he confirmed my initial impression of him as a cultured, old-world style gentleman and surprised me by the depth of his sensitivity, graciousness with younger director, Jean-Luc Godard (in a sequence that was more discussion than interview) and above all, his delicacy. His films are so strongly defined and often contain potent and vigorous characters, so I expected someone a little more brusque or "tough" seeming, perhaps. Someone more like Preminger or crusty, like Ford.

 

One of the most interesting moments is when Lang actually demonstrates how he goes about working out a scene. It's fascinating! I love interviews with directors, even those whose work I'm unfamiliar with, even more than interviews with actors and this disc contains one of the best. Film students everywhere should watch it and learn from it (more so, perhaps, than from the film itself!).

 

I also want to comment on one interesting remark made by Fritz Lang, he mentioned that in Hollywood sometimes the producers cut the very scenes that were the reasons why he wanted to make the film in the first place. I couldn't help but think about Cloak and Dagger, which apparently is one of his most butchered movies.

 

Message was edited by: MissGoddess

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Another thing I forgot to add about the interview was that Fritz Lang kept referring to himself, again surprising me, as a "romantic". He must have said it at least three times. And he also reiterrated that he always wanted his films to "touch the heart" and that any good movie must move the heart of the audience. It sounds sentimental but he objected that his idea of the "romantic" contained any sentiment. I thought he just sounded cute.

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I'll have to add that to my list of DVDs "to get," based on your comments. By the way, hi there, I'm somewhat new to the boards. Contempt is a favorite of mine by Godard......

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