Literature & Film discussion

Monthly Readings/Screenings > Contempt (Mar. 08)

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message 1: by Kimley (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Everyone ready for a little Moravia/Godard this month??? This should be good!

I'm really looking forward to seeing that amazing house in the film again.

And after reading The Conformist, I'm excited about taking on another Moravia book.

message 2: by Kimley (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
An FYI for those in the NYC area, Film Forum will be showing Contempt from March 14 to March 27.

Info here:

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert | 111 comments I just re-read Moravia's novel in January (it was part of the same volume as "The Conformist"), but I'm eager to finally get around to watching Godard's amazing film again. I've seen it a few times in a variety of conditions - a 35mm print where all but the red tones had dissolved, a 16mm print where the opening sequence was anamorphic but the rest wasn't, and of course, the hideous English-language version where Jack Palance's interpreter becomes an annoying woman who simply repeats everything he says - but the Criterion version and the restoration of a few years ago are absolutely stunning.

message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert | 111 comments a great opportunity for you folks in the New York area:

message 5: by Kimley (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
I'm not quite half way done with the book yet but I'm cracking up over the obvious "contempt" Moravia has for the film world. Anyone know what, if any, involvement Moravia himself had in the film world? I wonder what he thought of Godard's film.

message 6: by Kimley (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Well, I finished the book over the weekend and really enjoyed it. I think Moravia is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers.

I'm going to try and see the film next weekend. I saw it maybe 15-20 years ago so it's been a while. Though I did have a hard time escaping the images from the film while reading the book.

message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim | 45 comments I'm almost done with the book and will finish b4 the weekend and then see the movie - movie sounds gr8

I like this book better than The Conformist which was a little too "Stranger" 4 me and I am partial 2 Camus.

I can relate 2 this protagonist and find his descriptions about how he feels, how Emilia reacts and their interactions r so real.

Also I am just reading the part where they go 2 the Isle of Capri and the description reminds me of how I felt when I was there 4 a 1 day tour when I was touring Italy in the early 90s.

I like the author a lot but this may b my last 1 for a while.

Same old story too many books, too little time.

message 8: by Tosh (new)

Tosh | 68 comments It's really interesting how Godard stayed closely to the novel. I can't remember him doing that before with any of his other films. But both the book and film is truly haunting.

message 9: by Kimley (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Has Godard done many other book adaptations? It doesn't really seem like his kind of thing.

Of his better known films, I can't think of any off hand that were adaptations, were they? He's so prolific, it's hard to keep track.

message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert | 111 comments Most of Godard's adaptations are from relatively unusual sources. "Le Gai Savoir" was inspired by Rousseau's philosophical text "Pierre", "2 or three Things I know about her" by a news article, "Masculine Feminine" very loosely from two Maupassant stories. "King Lear" and "First Name :Carmen" have obvious literary sources, though they're not particular faithful to them. The only other film that seems like a relatively straightforward literary adaptation is "Made in USA", based on a Donald Westlake/Richard Stark novel.

message 11: by Nikki (new)

Nikki | 8 comments Pierrot le Fou is an adaptation of the book Obsession by Lionel White. I've been looking for the book for a few years now. Unfortunately it's pretty rare and a little out of my price range.

I'm guessing the book doesn't include the scene where Anna Karina and Jean Paul Belmondo frolic and sing on a wooded beach.

message 12: by Kimley (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Thanks Robert & Nikki! All very interesting.

I've been hesitating to start chatting about this month's read too much since it seems people are still reading or don't have time this month. And I still need to rewatch the film. Hopefully this weekend.

I did find this reader's guide (PDF) while perusing the NYRB website (dangerous place if you're trying not to add more books to your to-read list)...

Some of the questions seem a bit silly to me but there are a few which seem good for discussion.

In particular, the first question:

The narrator, Riccardo Molteni, says right up front that “this story sets out to relate how, while I continued to love her and not to judge her, Emilia, on the other hand, discovered, or thought she discovered, certain defects in me, and judged me and in consequence ceased to love me” [p. 3]. Is that what the novel really shows? What is the real story?

I love this sentence so early in the book as I think it gives a perfect sense of exactly where Molteni is coming from. We see immediately his complete lack of self-awareness. In this very sentence he claims not to be judging Emilia but is doing precisely that very thing.

I loved how Moravia wrote this in the first person and yet still managed to show us so clearly all the weaknesses of the character.

message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert | 111 comments I had forgotten that "Pierrot" was based on a novel. The only thing I've ever heard about "Obsession" was a brief reference to it being "Lolita-like" - by which I think they meant that there is an age difference between the two main characters...

message 14: by Jim (last edited Mar 22, 2008 08:24AM) (new)


loved the book and made movie so much more
I also am starting 2 rank Moravia as one of my favorites which I didn't think I would after reading the Conformist.

only thing the the color of the different objects/nature in the movie were so striking that I had some trouble focusing on story since I already had read the book. also i thought that Bardot was perfect 4 Emelia in terms of lack of artifice/look.

with NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN I saw the movie 1st and then read the book.

Glad I saw the movie NCFOM b4 I read the book as I really was able 2 watch the movie without seeing if the movie was close 2 what the book said.

Also as I read the book, the movie made more sense as I got thru the book.

I was amazed at how true 2 the book the NCFOM movie was and now see why it got Oscar 4 Best Picture.

so 4 lolita, I don't know what 2 do 1st - read the book/see the movie

I haven't read the book/seen the movie

So what should b done 1st 2 get the most out of both and why?

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