» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

July 11, 2008
RATING: 9.2/10
To view the new 35mm print of Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt, originally released in 1963, is to marvel at the director's seamless ability to simultaneously mock and idealize Hollywood conventions. From the opening credits, which Godard narrates rather than employing the usual on-screen captions, immediately followed by breathtaking images of Brigitte Bardot's tantalizingly naked form entrapped in a frame that shifts from red to yellow to blue, Contempt offers no apologies for the journey viewers undertake.

Contempt is a film about filmmaking, putting it in the same category as Day For Night and 8 1/2, but it's also a film about crumbling love, the drudgery and excitement of marriage, and the jealousy and vanity that comprises many of our most intimate relationships. Jack Palance is perfectly cast as a egomaniacal movie producer attempting to browbeat the creativity out of director Fritz Lang (played by the famed director, himself) as he shoots a film version of The Odyssey at a dilapidated Italian studio and some gorgeous seaside locations. Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli) is brought in to rework the script, but as he rides the merry-go-round of conversation with his wife, Camille (Bardot), it becomes clear that his heart and soul aren't in the job. Palance is a whirlwind of bluster and bravado as he seduces Bardot. His lithe translator, played by Georgia Moll, loosely interprets his verbal storms to Paul in vibrant scenes of attraction and flirtation. Ever the American, Palance drives his sports car the hundred feet or so to the screening room to view dailies, while Moll and Paul walk the short distance.

As Georges Delerue's sweeping and beautiful score rises up at seemingly random and inopportune moments of dialogue, lending a sentimental wink to the proceedings, Contempt constantly flirts with the concept of melodrama throughout its storyline. Godard is clearly enamored by Douglas Sirk-style weepies, even if he's keenly aware of the emotional manipulation they employ. And, ultimately, the film is sharply dramatic, as a relationship crumbles before our eyes, paralleling the story of the film within the film in many ways. Paul is a modern-day Odysseus, not taking the time to battle Camille's spirited suitor, disgusting her and, in the process, replacing adoration with contempt. Bardot's pout becomes hard and resigned over the course of the film as she accepts her fate and is almost indifferently seduced. Does Paul get a fair shake? Should he fight harder for the honor of his Penelope? Perhaps, or perhaps not. But his lack of emotional fortitude begets the film's final tragedy.

Contempt is not the most whimsical or unconventional of Godard's work by any measure, but it is fascinating and engaging, a beautiful creation of a master at the height of his creativity. The themes and poignancy still hold true almost a half-century after its release, and the film is truly one worth seeing on the large screen.

TRAILER: www.youtube.com/watch?v=do7ULPlH0jM

SEE ALSO: www.rialtopictures.com/contempt.html
SEE ALSO: www.imdb.com/title/tt0057345/

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.



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