I Saw A Film!

I suppose it’s human to eventually despise all the cute and sweet things we once adored about our romantic object d’amors. And here the crash course on this disintegration takes place with a universally accepted grand beauty of film, Bridgette Bardot. She is of course mesmerizing, wandering their apartment, in dresses, in towels, barefoot, unemotional mostly, just stating conflicting crap. Is it me or does she sometimes look like a young Willem Dafoe?! She looks like she’s 19 but she’s actually about 30 making this.

She does still love the broken writer. She doesn’t love him at all. Does she know? She doesn’t seem to. They have to decide who’s going to bathe first. She hasn’t the energy to go buy food . . . domestic boredom abounds along with discussion about the curtains (the curtains!). At one point the beauty lays herself half across her disinterested husband. We of course are drooling with expectation and desire- he can barely bring himself to notice her. Isn’t it the way though? It’s almost a comedy if you really think about it. How it is certain that even the beautiful must eventually deal with being just another body who doesn’t respect the love or the circumstances that have grown familiar (and so contempt!). Is there any real answer to this or is it just an endurance test? Godard films this part with some clever use of a still camera allowing the actors to cross in and out and around the apartment’s little alcoves and passages. It’s a bit claustrophobic and I long for the fellow to take Bardot in his arms and love her as he seemed to in the beginning of the film when we got to look at her backside and her being cute in bed with him. But that seems all gone now. They’re even slapping one another (that part is very hard to take).

Back in the world, Paul, played by Michael Piccoli has been hired to write a screenplay for Fritz Lang (who stars as himself in the film) and a brash, ugly and hulking American perfectly played by none other than Jack Palance. Palance hates the film Lang shows them, he literally throws it discus-like with impressive and correct athleticism. Palance has this raw and boorish idea that Odysseus hated his wife and so took his time returning to her after the Trojan war. It’s a weird kind of joke that Palance and Lang want Paul to write. Oddly, of course, despite his reluctance, he’s suddenly having to confront the dissolution of his own relationship with his wife.

On it goes, a gun appears, but it also vanishes. Paul encourages lovely Camille to take the trips with the fawning director and producers. She seems a little surprised that he seems to be offering her to others, but barely says anything. Bardot can sulk like nobody’s business.

The Odysseus film looks laughable as they’re creating it, and we’re not interested in it any more than Paul is. It’s a rough end, and it surprised me that Godard was making such trivial stuff out of the best heartfelt and frightening material. But that’s just me, you might find it all rather fitting.

Is the world of films our attempt to put our desires in some form of reality? As Lang (and I) paraphrases it. Maybe, but I don’t expect any of us would prefer a film about us breaking up with Bardot!

This is running a few bucks on Prime and despite my unsatisfied inner little boy wanting to watch Bardot all day long, flipping through magazines with her feet up, wandering about, taking her baths, talking softly about love . . . it’s probably a much better film than I’m allowing. What if Allen had used her for Annie Hall?

2 thoughts on “Contempt (1963)

  1. My one complaint is the use of the very moody musical score erupting as counterpoint every time Bardot moves. It’s a weird little trick almost as pointedly annoying as The Creature From the Black Lagoon’s fanfare every time he appeared, which I can hear even to this day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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