Film / Contempt

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Contempt (original French title: Le Mépris) is a 1963 French movie directed by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli. It's based on an Italian novel of the same title.

Dissatisfied with the direction a movie he's financing is taking, American producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) hires French playwright Paul Javal (Piccoli) to write a more commercial script. Paul tries to essentially sell his wife Camille (Bardot) to Prokosch, to get a better payment for the script. Camille, pissed with the treatment she's being given, becomes more and more aloof towards her husband.


Tropes:

  • As Himself: Fritz Lang, the director of the Odyssey film.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Camille throws one of these in a deadpan manner, to prove that she looks good swearing.
  • Cunning Linguist: Francesca, the translator who speaks all four languages spoken in the movie.
  • Downer Ending: Camille's and Paul's marriage falls apart and Camille dies along with Prokosch.
  • Film Within A Film: Type 1.
  • A God Am I: Prokosch. "I like Gods. I know exactly how they feel."
  • The Heart: Francesca, being a translator in a tense workplace.
  • Le Film Artistique: The Odyssey film seems to be this - little dialogue, long shots of painted over busts rotating for no particular reason. Contempt itself manages to avert the stereotypes commonly associated with this.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Camille, being Brigitte Bardot.
  • Multinational Team: The team working on the film within a film is composed of Italians, Germans, French people and at least one American. It's commonplace nowadays, but at the time it was kind of a novelty.
  • Nice Hat: Paul spends most of the movie with one.
  • Offscreen Crash: The actual car crash at the end, taking both the lives of Camille and Jack, is only heard while the camera pans over a close-up of Camille's fare-well letter to Paul. The camera returns to the crash scene right after, showing both characters lying motionless in their convertible.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Prokosch and Fritz Lang.
  • Smug Snake: Prokosch.
  • Tactful Translation: Francesca does this sometimes, to omit the more offensive things the other characters have to say to each other.
  • Take That: Lang saying that CinemaScope was made for snakes and funerals. Godard shot this film in CinemaScope against his will.
  • Tranquil Fury: Camille, the source of the title's meaning.

Alternative Title(s): Le Mepris

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