Chicago Sun-Times - 09/05/1997
"...[Bardot] seems very natural..."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2004
"Godard's masterpiece works on several levels: as a self-reflexive satire about filmmaking, as a study of relationship in its dying throes and as a reworking of a classical myth."
Total Film - 02/01/2004
"Sardonically scripted, it was shot in luminous Mediterranean locales..."
Los Angeles Times - 07/11/2008
"[A] masterpiece, a poetic, deeply reflective reverie on the interplay between a disintegrating marriage and the problematic filming of THE ODYSSEY in Italy."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Jean-Luc Godard's subversive foray into commercial filmmaking is a star-studded cinemascope epic. Contempt (Le Mepris) stars Michel Piccoli as a screenwriter torn between the demands of a proud European director (played by legendary director Fritz Lang), a crude and arrogant American producer (Jack Palance), and his disillusioned wife, Camille (Brigitte Bardot) as he attempts to doctor the script for a new film version of The Odyssey. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this brilliant study of marital breakdown, artistic compromise, and the cinematic process in a new special edition. French with English Subtitles.
Jean-Luc Godard's cynical look at the art of filmmaking follows a screenwriter in his attempts to recount Homer's THE ODYSSEY. Full of insights into the compromises required of filmmakers, as well as autobiographical allusions, especially concerning the failed union of Godard and actress Anna Karina, 1964's CONTEMPT is one of the most widely recognized films about the filmmaking process. It is also considered the film that made Godard realize that lavish productions were not for him, sending him back into a lower-budget world where he could maintain complete control over his films. Shot in glorious CinemaScope by Raoul Coutard, CONTEMPT is a poignant artistic commentary and a dramatic exposé of a dying marriage.
Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli) is struggling with Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance), the manipulative American producer financing his big-budget venture, and is frustrated by Fritz Lang (playing himself), the film's egotistical director. Concomitantly, his marriage to his gorgeous wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot) founders, and the emotional distance between them weighs heavily upon him.
In this cynical look at the art of filmmaking, a director attempts to retell Homer's THE ODYSSEY. He wrangles with his own creative process and the coarse producer's ridiculous demands.
Character Study |
New Wave (Film) |
U.S. theatrical release: December 18, 1964.
The film was re-released theatrically in several US cities on June 27, 1997.
Filmed on location in Capri and Rome, Italy.
Jean-Luc Godard's first attempt at big-budget filmmaking sparked major conflicts with his producers, triggering the now legendary nude scene that challenges viewers by boldly removing all sexuality from the situation.
CONTEMPT was the first time Godard worked with an actress as famous as Brigitte Bardot.