Contempt is often regarded as one of Jean-Luc Godard’s many great works that really pushes the rules as far as they can go. Godard based the script off of the novel, II disprezzo written by Alberto Moravia. Contempt is the fourth Godard film I’ve personally seen and I definitely understand the clout that surrounds it. It isn’t my favorite Godard because Vivre Sa Vie is pretty close to perfect in my eyes. Needless to say, I’m going to keep checking his shit out because it’s always rewarding.
Paul Javal is a young French playwright with some success in Rome who takes an offer from an American producer named Jeremy Prokosch to rework a screen adaptation of Odyssey for German director, Fritz Lang. As they finish discussing the film one day, Prokosch invites the crew to join him at his villa for some drinks. He extends a special invitation to Paul’s wife, Camille which starts a sort of snowball effect in the Javal’s marriage. Tensions rise in the relationship and on set as the crew differs on creative direction. It gets dark and depressing very quickly.
Jack Palance offers a nice and easily punchable kind of performance as Prokosch while Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli play the Juval couple to perfection. Contempt is visually stunning, thanks to Raoul Coutard being one of the best cinematographers to ever live. Him and Godard worked together frequently and it’s really the fundamental reason behind my personal fandom for these films. Contempt is wicked smart and it moves with a brilliant pace that Godard mastered over time. I will admit that it is a style that isn’t necessarily for everyone’s enjoyment but his work is pretty essential when looking at the New Wave movement which will always be a massive part of cinematic history.