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Contempt - Criterion Collection
Contempt - Criterion Collection
Actors: Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli, Giorgia Moll, Fritz Lang
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2002     1hr 42min

Jean-Luc Godard's subversive foray into commercial filmmaking is a star-studded Cinemascope epic. Contempt (Le M pris) stars Michel Piccoli as a screenwriter torn between the demands of a proud European director (played by...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli, Giorgia Moll, Fritz Lang
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Creators: Raoul Coutard, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Guillemot, Lila Lakshmanan, Carlo Ponti, Georges de Beauregard, Joseph E. Levine, Alberto Moravia
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/10/2002
Original Release Date: 12/18/1964
Theatrical Release Date: 12/18/1964
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 42min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 31
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

(5 out of 5 stars)

"Criterion does it again. A wonderful, fascinating 1963 film rescued from terrible, faded prints and murky video transfers and made to look - like Criterion's equally outstanding refurbishment of Fellini's "Juliet of the Spirits" - almost like a brand-new movie; as clean and as beautiful as I have ever seen it. Not everyone will "get" what Jean-Luc Godard is up to with "Contempt", and some will get it but still not care for it - fair enough. He never claimed to be making movies for every audience any more than he claimed to be making them for rarefied elites, nevertheless a broad spectrum of us do understand and appreciate his artistic project (of which this is one sublime outcome), and if you can suspend for two hours the narrow, conventional expectations Hollywood product has cultivated in many of us, that number may include you. Robert Stam's alternate-channel audio commentary provides many interesting insights regarding the significance and filmmaking innovations of "Contempt", along with superb analysis of the sources of the story (in Homer and recent Italian literature) and the performances, and some information regarding how the movie came to be cast and produced, which goes a long way toward explaining why Godard made the movie he eventually made. "Contempt" may be Godard's most "conventional" film, but then art is not only about innovation, but also about mastery. If the performances are not always so subtle they are nevertheless wonderfully nuanced, including that of the great director (and non-actor) Fritz Lang, and Brigitte Bardot - still at the apogee of her Gallic voluptuousness - reveals a depth unimagined by those quick to dismiss her bathtub sex kitten persona - not to mention, most of her legendarily beautiful naked body, in Technicolor and CinemaScope. It's as much about how things don't work in a relationship as it is about how they don't work (for the purposes of art) in the movie business, and is as relevant to both subjects today as forty years ago. The second disc supplements include interesting and enjoyable interviews (especially the conversation between Jean-Luc Godard and Fritz Lang), and a short subject about Bardot and the photographers who followed her around relentlessly ("Paparazzi") that's just fun. Disc two also features the perfect antidote to today's movie trailers that go on and on and spoil everything: the one for "Contempt" shows you images from the film but manages to reveal almost nothing about it! This was a home run, Criterion - thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Penelope Vs. Ulysses or Art Vs. Commerce In The Space Age
andy7 | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of Brigitte Bardot's few high brow films is an amazing modern Space Age parable of the Homer's "Odyssey" in which innocuous writer Michel Piccoli allows sleazy creep producer Jack Palance (his best film, hands down) have his way with wife BB...she feels nothing but contempt for Piccoli for his apathy... I'm with her...the screenplay to the proposed film is supposed to be about the death of romance between Ulysses and Penelope in Homer's "Odyssey", but life imitates art when the romance between BB and Piccoli rots away due to Piccoli's wimpy attitude toward Palance's lecherous advances towards his wife...then again, Palance clearly reperesents commerce......
This is a superior film to "Breathless", IMHO, .. the film is total eye candy, if not due to the awesome BB, then by the gorgeous locations...
Godard really deserves more credit, he's a consummate filmmaker......Breathless, Alphaville, First Name Carmen, Band of Outsiders..."
Le Mepris
M. Bishop | Rio de Janeiro | 12/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"No one has captured the end of a relationship on film better than Godard in Contempt. In between the excrutiatingly accurate scenes between Piccoli and Bardot are musings on the nature of cinema, Homer's Odyssey, Godardian polemics and a practical treatise on the use of color in film by Raoul Coutard. And those tracking shots of Godard! This is a terrific DVD - the image and color are superb, sound crystal clear. Another great presentation from the Criterion Collection. But what I really appreciated was that on the disc's menu screen there was a full rendition of George Delerue's magnificent main theme, easily one of the most beautiful motif's ever written for film. Worth the price of the DVD for that alone."
Totally, Tenderly, Tragically
Andrea Choe | Los Angeles, CA | 09/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

Camille: "Then you love me totally."
Paul: "I love you totally, tenderly, tragically."

Such is the story of Camille and Paul, whose lives we watch slowly unravel in tender tragedy. This is a movie to be watched and to be felt; to be understood by the part of you that has struggled to change an unchangeable love or the part of you that has felt the urge to desecrate your own life simply out of restless need to feel something new or understand something raw.

To begin with, Godard takes insoluble feelings of love/hate/restlessness/desire/contempt and weaves it under a thin layer of lives, which as you watch, cannot be seen directly but is clearly felt. He foregoes standard cinematic technique/storytelling criteria as he drops changing color filters over Bardot's introductory nude scene and compares the raging emotions of man against the widescapes of the still ocean and skies (as is seen in particularly breathtaking shots rotating around Greek statues with eyes painted in bright red against a backdrop of bluish white skies and a tortuous finale to which Godard himself yells "Silence!" and cuts to the motionless sea).

On top of this, the musical score done by Georges Delerue has been called the most beautiful score ever heard. It is repeated throughout the movie and it comes and goes unpredictably, like the asthmatic attacks that life often unveils at times not necessarily warranted. Altogether, this movie is an honest replication of feelings that course through all of us during the best of times and the worst of times.