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Contempt

Contempt

A Feature film by Jean-Luc Godard

Produced by Les Films Marceau, Rome-Paris Films

Release in France : 20/12/1963

    Synopsis

    American film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) hires respected Austrian director Fritz Lang (playing himself) to direct a film adaptation of Homer's Odyssey. Dissatisfied with Lang's treatment of the material as an art film, Prokosch hires Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), a novelist and playwright, to rework the script. The conflict between artistic expression and commercial opportunity parallels Paul's sudden estrangement from his wife Camille Javal (Brigitte Bardot), who becomes aloof with Paul after being left alone with Prokosch, a millionaire playboy.

    While founded on Alberto Moravia's story of the progressive estrangement between a husband and wife, Godard's version also contains deliberate parallels with aspects of his own life: while Paul, Camille, and Prokosch correspond to Ulysses, Penelope, and Poseidon, respectively, they also correspond in some ways with Godard, his wife Anna Karina (his choice of female lead), and Joseph E. Levine, the film's distributor. At one point, Bardot dons a black wig which gives her a resemblance to Karina. Michel Piccoli also bears some resemblance to Brigitte Bardot's ex-husband and Svengali, the filmmaker Roger Vadim.

    Also notable in the film is a discussion of Dante – particularly Canto XXVI of Inferno, about Ulysses' last fatal voyage beyond the Pillars of Hercules to the other side of the world – and Friedrich Hölderlin's poem, "Dichterberuf" ("The Poet's Vocation").

    Actors (8)

    Production and distribution (4)

    Executive Producers :

    Les Films Marceau, Rome-Paris Films

    Film exports/foreign sales :

    STUDIOCANAL

    Co-production :

    Compagnia Cinematografica Champion

    French distribution :

    Cocinor

    Box Office: Total results

    Box office: Timeline

    International releases (9)

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    TV Broadcasts: Cumulative total

    TV broadcasts: details by country

    Subject

    Production
    Italian film producer Carlo Ponti approached Jean Luc Godard to discuss a possible collaboration; Godard suggested an adaptation of Moravia's novel Il disprezzo (originally translated into English with the title A Ghost at Noon) in which he saw Kim Novak and Frank Sinatra as the leads; they refused. Ponti suggested Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, whom Godard refused. Finally, Bardot was chosen, because of the producer's insistence that the profits might be increased by displaying her famously sensual body. This provided the film's opening scene, filmed by Godard as a typical mockery of the cinema business with tame nudity. The scene was shot after Godard considered the film finished, at the insistence of the American co-producers. In the film, Godard cast himself as Lang's assistant director, and characteristically has Lang expound many of Godard's New Wave theories and opinions. Godard also employed the two "forgotten" New Wave filmmakers, Luc Moullet and Jacques Rozier, on the film. Bardot visibly reads a book about Fritz Lang that was written by Moullet, and Rozier made the documentary short about the making of the film, Le Parti Des Choses.

    Contempt was filmed in and occurs entirely in Italy, with location shooting at the Cinecittà studios in Rome and the Casa Malaparte on Capri island. In a notable sequence, the characters played by Piccoli and Bardot wander through their apartment alternately arguing and reconciling. Godard filmed the scene as an extended series of tracking shots, in natural light and in near real-time. The cinematographer, Raoul Coutard, shot some of the seminal films of the Nouvelle Vague, including Godard's Breathless.

    Reception
    One of the most notable blurbs about the film: Sight & Sound critic Colin MacCabe called Contempt "the greatest work of art produced in postwar Europe."

    Antoine de Gaudemar made a 1-hour documentary in 2009 about Contempt, Il était une fois... Le Mépris (A Film and its Era: Contempt)[2] which incorporated footage from Jacques Rozier's earlier documentaries Paparazzi (1963), Le Parti Des Choses (1964), and André S. Labarthe's Le dinosaure et le bébé (1967).

    Source : Wikipedia

    Photos (9)

    Full credits (13)

    Executive Producers :

    Georges de Beauregard, Carlo Ponti, Joseph E. Levine

    Author of original work :

    Alberto Moravia

    Directors of Photography :

    Raoul Coutard, Alain Levent

    Assistant Operator :

    Joe D'Amato

    Editors :

    Agnés Guillemot, Lila Lakshmanan

    Music Composers :

    Georges Delerue, Piero Piccioni

    Make-up Artist :

    Odette Berroyer

    Assistant Director :

    Charles Bitsch

    Screenwriter :

    Jean-Luc Godard

    Sound Recordist :

    William-Robert Sivel

    Production managers :

    Philippe Dussart, Carlo Lastricati

    Continuity supervisor :

    Suzanne Schiffman

    Costume designer :

    Tanine Autré

    Technical details

    Feature film

    Genres :

    Fiction

    Sub-genre :

    Drama

    Production language :

    French, English, German, Italian

    Coproducer countries :

    France, Italy

    Original French-language productions :

    Yes

    Nationality :

    Majority French (France, Italy)

    Production year :

    1963

    French release :

    20/12/1963

    Runtime :

    1 h 43 min

    Current status :

    Released

    Visa number :

    27.515

    Approval :

    Yes

    Color type :

    Color

    Aspect ratio :

    2.35

    Audio format :

    Mono

    Posters (9)

    Director

    News

    Festival Selections (3)