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Foreign Films > Contempt (Jean Luc-Godard)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Part of my Friday night Film Fest with my Cinementor, I am busily catching up on my Godard filmography. Next week is LA CHINOISE. Enjoy:)

CONTEMPT (Jean Luc-Godard, 1963, France) The camera turns slowly towards the audience making us accomplice in Jean Luc-Godard’s celluloid indictment, a profound conviction of an Industry that devours Art and regurgitates prosaic camphoraceous pollution. The absurd plot is frustratingly apropos concerning modern cinematic values: an idiotic Producer rules his investment like a Fascist, an unimaginative puerile lowbrow who believes he can re-write Homer’s Odyssey to make it more exciting. Pugilistically portrayed by Jack Palance, Producer Jeremy Prokosch subverts the introspective writer Paul, which begins to erode Paul’s relationship with his beautiful wife Camille. Godard journeys into a 24 frames-per-second fantasy and reveals the granite gods of cinema, those unflinching executives who know nothing of profound revelation, only the subtle texture of money, who hold the golden monopoly on expression. Fritz Lang is the director at odds with the producer and ultimately the writer, as Paul’s integrity is questioned chasing the almighty dollar, wallowing in the superficial trappings of success. Godard beautifully films in Cinemascope and utilizes long takes and tracking shots, letting the characters talk and contemplate with few cuts. The masterful cinematography soon reflects a claustrophobic nightmare, the 2:35:1 aspect ratio cramped into a tiny apartment, expressing Paul and Camille’s continental drift and tectonic friction. Godard privileges the audience with a glimpse of Hollywood machinations and stupidity; as the great Fritz Lang, the inane Jeremy Prokosch, and Paul watch the dailies, Jeremy becomes increasingly violent because he doesn’t understand the film. He threatens Lang with reduced financing unless more sex scenes are interwoven into the narrative. Eventually, Lang works to complete his film while Paul attempts to retain his own identity by not selling-out; Camille and Jeremy drive off, joining together in a twisted mass of steel, breathlessly immersed in the putrid essence of blood and gasoline. It would be funny if it weren’t so true. (A)


message 2: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments good work, and thanks for reviewing this one. it's beautiful to watch, and bridget bardot doesn't hinder that, but mostly it's goddard's indictment against industry filmmaking that make this one of the finer goddard efforts.


message 3: by melbourne (new)

melbourne (cocho) | 80 comments Interesting. Contempt, for me, is one of Godard's last watchable films for some time. After Alphaville and Contempt Godard lost some of his verve, in my opinion. In Praise of Love was interesting, though.


message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I'm watching his films out of chronological order so it surprised me that CONTEMPT came before PIERROT LE FOU. Though I loved both films, I thought this was more mature and exacting, more restrained and focused than PIERROT. Was CONTEMPT his first color film?


message 5: by Phillip (last edited Jan 04, 2009 05:04PM) (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments alex,
no. a woman is a woman and possibly one or two others came before contempt.

cocho,
i have a similar opinion, but on the other hand i really like first name: carmen. alphaville is my absolute favorite goddard film, for reasons i won't go into here.

i also thought in praise of love was (more than) interesting. i picked it up on dvd because none of the stores had it when it came out. i watched it about five times, and by the fifth time, i was much more able to see how it all fits together.


message 6: by melbourne (new)

melbourne (cocho) | 80 comments Phillip wrote: "alex,
no. a woman is a woman and possibly one or two others came before contempt.

cocho,
i have a similar opinion, but on the other hand i really like first name: carmen. alphaville is my absolute..."


right, woman is a woman was first.

interesting that alphaville is your favorite. lemy caution has to be one of my all time favourite movie names. Band of Outsiders and My Life to Live are still the tops for me. Speaking of French New Wave, I lean a bit more toward Truffaut. Varda was also quite good.


message 7: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments i've never really been able to get into truffault. i love 400 blows and jules et jim, and shoot the piano player is interesting. i like small change for the most part. but most of the other films (especially the ones in the antione doinel series) leave me cold.

agnes varda is a totally different story. i've never seen any thing of hers i didn't applaud wildly. i have that box set that has cleo from 5 - 7, le bonheur, le point courte, and vagabond. those are all oustanding, imo. i would like to see some of her documentaries, but can't easily find them.

alphaville is just too lovely. the photography is beautiful, the narrative holds together well, but he's obviously stretching it in new ways, the soundtrack, the central characters, the way the whole things just falls apart at the end...jeeze, i feel like watching it right now...and anna karina. whew! i'm getting shivers.

i should have added my life to live. that's another great one from the early period.


message 8: by melbourne (new)

melbourne (cocho) | 80 comments anna karina to me is one of the most talented (and beautiful) actresses of all time. Her and Giulieta Massina are perhaps my favourite two.


message 9: by M (last edited Jan 08, 2009 06:53AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Alex DeLarge wrote: "Part of my Friday night Film Fest with my Cinementor, I am busily catching up on my Godard filmography. Next week is LA CHINOISE. Enjoy:)

CONTEMPT (Jean Luc-Godard, 1963, France) The camera turn..."


Thanks Alex for this review. "Contempt" is one of Godard's movies that I would like to see.


message 10: by M (last edited Jan 07, 2009 05:43PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Phillip

Agnès Varda's documentaries are amazing. I'll post some informations soon. I'm not sure to find them in English.




message 11: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments michelle,

yes, please! i could use some titles and recommendations to get started.


message 12: by M (last edited Jan 08, 2009 02:16PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Phillip wrote: "michelle,

yes, please! i could use some titles and recommendations to get started."


"The Gleaners and I" ("Les Glaneurs et Les Glaneuses")is the first documentary,
in English.

Agnes Varda ads a triumphant and ultra-contemporary chapter to her life's work of cinematic investigations into the lives of characters relegated to society's margins with the graceful and compelling documentary, THE GLEANERS AND I.
Departing from Jean-Francois Millet's celebrated 1867 portrait of women picking through a harvested wheat field entitled "Les Glaneuses," Agnès Varda constructs a modest and compassionate visual essay on the concept and lifestyle of "gleaning" or scavenging. With digital camera in hand, Varda vagabonds around France in search of the 21st Century's incarnation of the gleaners. From potato fields in central France, to supermarket dumpsters in Paris, Varda's film portrays a completely surprising and ultimately complex populace, who subsist off of the waste of others. The film's casual style allows the intelligence, dignity, and honesty of the subjects to shine through as Varda herself pieces together a modern aesthetic and ideology of gleaning. With affectionate humor and searching intelligence, Varda points the camera at herself, marveling at her own process of aging and the gleaning that lies at the center of her own art and life.


message 13: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Michelle, you're in for a treat with CONTEMPT! I recommend watching the Criterion DVD because the quality is fantastic. Supposedly, a Blu-Ray is being prepared for release later this year. Can't wait!


message 14: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments nice description on the gleaners and i, michelle...i'll look for that one. it's hard to find her more obscure films in america.


message 15: by M (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Which Agnès Varda's more obscur documentaries are you looking for?


message 16: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments i've only been able to find one of her documentaries over here. so pretty much all of them seem obscure to me.


message 17: by Matt (new)

Matt | 218 comments I love this movie. I havent made it all the way through the novel yet but the film inspired me to honeymoon on the island of Capri. Arguably my favourite/most watchable of Godard's films.


message 18: by M (last edited Jan 10, 2009 06:47PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Phillip wrote: "i've only been able to find one of her documentaries over here. so pretty much all of them seem obscure to me."

Here's is the list of Agnès Varda's documentaries that I found. Some of them are in English, French and one in German.

For fifty years, Agnès Varda is one of the great names of French cinema. She decided to make a career in film in 1954. At the time, she had already forged a reputation as a photo reporter and theater photographer. Her films are both real and imagined, on the border between documentary and fiction. She shot more than thirty films and won, with "Vagabond", "The Golden Lion" at the Venice Film Festival, first awarded by a woman (1985).
Her work is inclassifiable, alternating movies with different formats, from documentaries, short-fiction, films, where the image is the most often in dialogue with a dazzling finesse and intelligence.
Agnès Varda's talent, like any filmmaker, is to always be where It's needed at the right time. In her documentaries, Agnès Varda shows her hability to grasp things, people, color, texture with an exceptional narrative style.

(1958) -Diary of a Pregnant Woman (USA)
(1958) -Du Coté de la cote (French)
(1966) -The Creatures (USA)
(1967)- Uncle Yanco (USA)
(1967) -Far from Vietnam (USA) - A collective documentary with Chris Marker, J.L.Godard, Joris Iven, William Klein, Claude Lelouch.
(1968) -Black Panthers (French) - Huey (USA)
(1976) -Daguerréotypes (French) - Daguerreotypen ( German)
(1981) -Murs, Murs (French) - Mural Murals (USA)
(1981) -Documenteur (French)-Documenteur: An Emotion Picture (USA)
(1984) -Les Dites Cariatides (French) - The So-called Caryatids (USA)
(1988) -Jane Birkin by Agnès Varda (USA)
(1993) -Les demoiselles ont eu 25 ans (French) - The Young Girls Turn 25 (USA)
(2004) - Cinevardaphoto (French)
(2008) _ Les plages d'Agnès ( French).




message 19: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments wow, fantastic. i appreciate the list, michelle! now i can get to work on some varda documentaries.


message 20: by M (last edited Jan 11, 2009 02:31AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Thanks, Phillip. I look forward hearing your thoughts about the Agnès Varda's documentaries that you'll watch.


message 21: by M (last edited Jan 11, 2009 04:52AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Alex DeLarge wrote: "Michelle, you're in for a treat with CONTEMPT! I recommend watching the Criterion DVD because the quality is fantastic. Supposedly, a Blu-Ray is being prepared for release later this year. Can't wa..."

Alex, I'll watch Contempt by Godard next month. France celebrated Akira Kurosawa in 2008. I'm revisiting and watching his movies (for now I watched 15 films). I'm a big fan of Kurosawa's movies!


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