171 Contempt

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
RossyG
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#126 Post by RossyG » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:58 am

rrenault wrote:By inferior source, you mean shots like these?

Image
Yes, that's one of the scenes. From memory, it affects about five minutes of material.

JonasEB
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:02 am

Re: 171 Contempt

#127 Post by JonasEB » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:56 am

RossyG wrote:To my untutored eye the Studio Canal BD looked fine. A handful of scenes are of slightly lesser quality, but that's explained in the set: they came from an inferior source.

So there's room for improvement, but I don't consider it a disaster at all. In fact, I'd give the whole disc a solid 4 out of 5.
Also, wasn't the Criterion DVD precisely the same? If they had done the Blu-ray they probably would have ended up with the same result.

User avatar
repeat
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:04 am
Location: high in the Custerdome

Re: 171 Contempt

#128 Post by repeat » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:33 am

No, the Criterion transfer is much darker and more bluish, it's not the same at all (see Beaver). The StudioCanal looks much better to me - but would be cool to see this new restoration on Blu eventually!

edit: sorry, you meant the same source materials of course, which is probably true - but either way the colours look better on the SC

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: 171 Contempt

#129 Post by Drucker » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:48 am

I saw the trailer for the film at Film Forum the other day, and there was a noticeable golden hue to the look of the film that I don't think is captured on the Criterion DVD or Studio Canal blu ray.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#130 Post by domino harvey » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:12 am

Has anyone read this collection of essays on Contempt edited by Colin MacCabe and Laura Mulvey?

User avatar
Jean-Luc Garbo
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:55 am
Contact:

Re: 171 Contempt

#131 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:33 pm

Publisher's website has the table of contents if that helps.

harrymorgan
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:04 am

Re: 171 Contempt

#132 Post by harrymorgan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:19 am

I've read the collection of essays and it was well worth it. About 50% of the essays had value (which is more than usual in these collections). It is available on an interlibrary loan through WorldCat if you have a local library close by. Some of the articles had several small screencaps that helped visualize the authors' points. I wish more academic studies used screencaps because film is, after all, a visual medium!

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: 171 Contempt

#133 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:33 am

I saw this at MoMI today. It was preceded by Breathless which looked gorgeous projected from a 35mm print (struck from the 2010 restoration supervised by Raoul Coutard). Contempt, on the other hand, came from a DCP, and from the looks of it, it was created from the same master used to create the BD, because the same problems were there. To be blunt, it was a crummy looking DCP - I don't know when it was created, but it looked like an old 2k transfer, and besides the inferior source material used for certain scenes (as discussed in this thread), it felt like some heavy de-graining might've been used as some things looked pretty waxy. (This was especially true in the long shots.)

User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: 171 Contempt

#134 Post by aox » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:23 am

Every time this thread is bumped, my hopes go sky-high.

User avatar
bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: 171 Contempt

#135 Post by bottled spider » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:52 pm

I barely speak French at all, but revisiting this a couple weeks ago I noticed the spoken French more, and wondered about the translations in places. For example, it clicked that in Bardot's disquisition on Dean Martin's ass [per subtitles], she's actually saying âne [= donkey]. (Not that I'm criticizing the translation. Even if âne lacks the arse/donkey duality of "ass", "ass" is probably more idiomatic in context than "donkey").

All of which is just a pretext for posting this clip: "Ass" doesn't just mean "butt"

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: 171 Contempt

#136 Post by Rayon Vert » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:15 pm

I'd have to revisit the film to understand what the point that Bardot is making there, but she is referring to l'âne Martin, a folklore/legend having to do with Saint Martin's donkey. (There's also a proverb that says "À la foire, il y a plus d’un âne qui s’appelle Martin" ("At the fair, there is more than one donkey called Martin"), which means many people carry the same name or there's more than one person that possesses a particular characteristic.)

User avatar
bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: 171 Contempt

#137 Post by bottled spider » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:49 pm

Thanks! To my recollection, none of those details came through in the subtitles, and weren't discussed in the commentary.

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: 171 Contempt

#138 Post by Rayon Vert » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:16 pm

The scene is here (without subtitles). This seems to be the conversation:

- I don’t know if you want to look like Dean Martin, but you look like l’âne Martin.
- Who’s that?
- You don’t know The Adventures of L’Âne Martin?
- No.
- One day, he went to Baghdad to buy flying carpets. He found one that was very pretty. He sat on it and the carpet didn’t take off. So the merchant said to him: “That’s not surprising”. Are you listening?
- Yes!
- "That's not surprising. In order for the carpet to fly, you must not think about a donkey". So Martin said, “Very well, I must not think about a donkey.” But automatically, he thought about one. And so the carpet didn’t take off.
- I don’t see what that has to do with me.
- That’s exactly what I was saying.
- Well I don’t understand.


I'd have to watch the earlier parts so I too can (potentially) understand. I can't find any references for such "adventures" having existed. I would hazard a guess that Godard made up the specific story.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#139 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:31 am

I just noticed something rewatching this for the nth time: when Fritz Lang is introduced in the studio there’s a mini push-in crane dip moving closer to him that feels out of place with the form in the rest of the film (and Godard in general). My first thought was this is a nod to similar shots in M, not a stretch or profound revelation but fun Easter egg if true.

Constable
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:51 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#140 Post by Constable » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:56 am

I recently watched Contempt for the first time and the picture stumped me a little bit. I read a few reviews, but they didn't go very in depth and didn't really make anything clearer, so I'm wondering if you folks might help me with it.

Basically, all I saw in the film was a story about a marriage going sour because the husband is intent on kissing his boss' ass to the point that he'll tolerate open advances at his wife, which upsets her and makes her go cold.

I suppose that's fine if you enjoy the story, but certainly not enough to merit inclusion on the Sight & Sound list of best films of all time, so I'm sure there's something I'm missing here, in fact I know there is.

All the symbolism relating to the Odyssey went completely over my head. What was the point of the statues? Were the red and blue eyes somehow connected to the prominently red and blue furniture or was that just coincidental??

I got the bit about how Penelope stops loving Odysseus because he tells her to be nice to her suitors, but I'm sure that's not the extent of it.

I also didn't understand the musical theme that recurred at, what seemed to me like, random moments. What was that about?

So, basically, I'm asking 1) why is the film so highly regarded, 2) what was the Odyssey symbolism and what were the statues, music etc. communicating?

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#141 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:16 pm

Good questions and I commend you on approaching the film from a position of wanting to learn why others value it rather than dismissing it outright even though it didn't work for you. I think you're right to question why anyone would care about a film with such a simplistic and perhaps even uninteresting plot. The answer is that the plot, the usual thing people go to the movies for, doesn't matter to Godard. Neither does conventional characterization, causality, or any other signs of narrative normalcy. What he is interested in is disrupting conventional viewing patterns while (at this juncture in his career at least) giving a product that has the outward appearance of being a mainstream entertainment (big stars, romantic drama, picture postcard location shooting, etc). Here's where the inappropriate interruptions of music comes into play. It's also why he's fascinated with the meta nature of focusing on filmmaking (to the extent of casting a real director to play a version of himself), as considering it requires us to also consider the artifice of the film we're seeing. The Greek mythos stuff is part of one of Godard's other fascinations, quotation. You can see an obvious example of this used for laffs in Jack Palance's line riffing on the famous apocryphal line attributed to various Nazis, "When I hear the word culture, that's when I reach for my gun," but you see it in the books characters read and read from, and even arguably one of the actors, Giorgia Moll, who was cast here as a riff on her role in Mankiewicz' the Quiet American. Godard's films do not exist in a vacuum and can't really be fully considered or appreciated at the level they operate on without context. So what many critics and fans get from this and many of his other films is that playful interworking of all of these elements. Hope this helps!

alacal2
not waving but frowning
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#142 Post by alacal2 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:21 pm

It certainly helped me.Thanks!

User avatar
FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village

Re: 171 Contempt

#143 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:49 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:16 pm
Godard's films do not exist in a vacuum and can't really be fully considered or appreciated at the level they operate on without context. So what many critics and fans get from this and many of his other films is that playful interworking of all of these elements. Hope this helps!
Constable, this is why multiple viewings of Godard's films are always essential to getting Godard and his body of work. I would expect you to take another swing at Contempt

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

171 Contempt

#144 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:37 pm

What I love about the film’s central section is that it shows the death of a relationship not through one, big dramatic argument, but through an accumulation of a hundred small moments of insensitivity and stubbornness, until, like a sorites paradox, the couple realize their love has died at some unknown, imperceptible point within that series of minor disputes. It’s Godard’s brilliance to be able to represent the end of love persuasively through such repetitive, structureless means in which nothing seems to develop. It’s like Godard is plumbing stasis rather than movement, and yet somehow brings us somewhere new on the other side. It is the total opposite of Ingmar Bergman and just as emotionally effecting. So little seemed at stake and yet everything was at stake.

Jack Phillips
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:33 am

Re: 171 Contempt

#145 Post by Jack Phillips » Sat Jan 23, 2021 3:58 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:37 pm
What I love about the film’s central section is that it shows the death of a relationship not through one, big dramatic argument, but through an accumulation of a hundred small moments of insensitivity and stubbornness, until, like a sorites paradox, the couple realize their love has died at some unknown, imperceptible point within that series of minor disputes. It’s Godard’s brilliance to be able to represent the end of love persuasively through such repetitive, structureless means in which nothing seems to develop. It’s like Godard is plumbing stasis rather than movement, and yet somehow brings us somewhere new on the other side. It is the total opposite of Ingmar Bergman and just as emotionally effecting. So little seemed at stake and yet everything was at stake.
domino harvey wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:16 pm
Good questions and I commend you on approaching the film from a position of wanting to learn why others value it rather than dismissing it outright even though it didn't work for you. I think you're right to question why anyone would care about a film with such a simplistic and perhaps even uninteresting plot. The answer is that the plot, the usual thing people go to the movies for, doesn't matter to Godard. Neither does conventional characterization, causality, or any other signs of narrative normalcy. What he is interested in is disrupting conventional viewing patterns while (at this juncture in his career at least) giving a product that has the outward appearance of being a mainstream entertainment (big stars, romantic drama, picture postcard location shooting, etc). Here's where the inappropriate interruptions of music comes into play. It's also why he's fascinated with the meta nature of focusing on filmmaking (to the extent of casting a real director to play a version of himself), as considering it requires us to also consider the artifice of the film we're seeing. The Greek mythos stuff is part of one of Godard's other fascinations, quotation. You can see an obvious example of this used for laffs in Jack Palance's line riffing on the famous apocryphal line attributed to various Nazis, "When I hear the word culture, that's when I reach for my gun," but you see it in the books characters read and read from, and even arguably one of the actors, Giorgia Moll, who was cast here as a riff on her role in Mankiewicz' the Quiet American. Godard's films do not exist in a vacuum and can't really be fully considered or appreciated at the level they operate on without context. So what many critics and fans get from this and many of his other films is that playful interworking of all of these elements. Hope this helps!
These are the two best post for this film imaginable. Both are correct. Both should remain fixed in the viewer's mind for any future viewings. Let the record show that 1/23/21 was a red-letter day in the annals of Contempt assessments.

User avatar
Red Screamer
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Tativille, IA

Re: 171 Contempt

#146 Post by Red Screamer » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:57 pm

I'll add that a key reference point is Journey to Italy, which Rivette famously lauded in Cahiers as an example of cinema that's personal and essayistic, two qualities associated with Godard's work. Keeping that film in mind while watching Contempt might help clarify how Godard is playing with representations of marriages falling apart and tourism/culture exchange. As for your second question, The Odyssey references are more of a joke than a significant throughline, in my opinion, swiping the basic idea of Ulysses as a jumping-off point the way Journey to Italy swipes the ending of Joyce's "The Dead" for the outline of its story. The Rossellini film also has a notable use of Classical-style statues, as does Last Year at Marienbad. I've seen some critics argue that Godard is making a point about the connections and dissonances between modernism and classicism, but that's more a description of the Joyce novel and is secondary here. Especially since, in my experience, Contempt is less conceptual and more moody and emotional, in its own strange way, than many of Godard's other films from this era.

Constable
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:51 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#147 Post by Constable » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:38 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:16 pm
Good questions and I commend you on approaching the film from a position of wanting to learn why others value it rather than dismissing it outright even though it didn't work for you. I think you're right to question why anyone would care about a film with such a simplistic and perhaps even uninteresting plot. The answer is that the plot, the usual thing people go to the movies for, doesn't matter to Godard. Neither does conventional characterization, causality, or any other signs of narrative normalcy. What he is interested in is disrupting conventional viewing patterns while (at this juncture in his career at least) giving a product that has the outward appearance of being a mainstream entertainment (big stars, romantic drama, picture postcard location shooting, etc). Here's where the inappropriate interruptions of music comes into play.
That's kind of what bothered me about Godard in some other films of his. Perhaps most notably the minute of silence in Band of Outsiders. It just feels like messing with form for the sake of messing with form in a very "oooh look what an innovator I am" way and putting the very showy rule breaking in place of substance rather than in service of it.

(Reading this back, for some reason I feel it might read like I'm being rude, so in case it reads that way to you, too - wasn't intended that way at all and I appreciate your answer.)

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#148 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:52 pm

I often think of Godard as someone who knows cinema inside and out, and is primarily a seeker of truth who also contradictorily knows that truth is elusive. So he disrupts artificial and prepackaged, thus limited, narrative and formal structures to keep reinventing and recontextualizing the emotions and ideas into novel, infinite ways of experiencing them, to get closer to this ‘truth’- and I think part of him believes that doing so creates new truths while also feeding into the artificiality of the process prohibiting finding anything real. It’s like that existential bifurcation in many of us that partly believes in subjective meaning and is okay with it, and yet also pines for objective meaning that cannot be accessed. This theoretical contradiction becomes emotional for Godard and helps explain why he makes films as he does and why they’re so different each time- he’s a man who cannot stop himself from engaging in this journey, and is both traumatized and endlessly rewarded along the way.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 171 Contempt

#149 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:55 pm

Constable wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:38 pm
domino harvey wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:16 pm
Good questions and I commend you on approaching the film from a position of wanting to learn why others value it rather than dismissing it outright even though it didn't work for you. I think you're right to question why anyone would care about a film with such a simplistic and perhaps even uninteresting plot. The answer is that the plot, the usual thing people go to the movies for, doesn't matter to Godard. Neither does conventional characterization, causality, or any other signs of narrative normalcy. What he is interested in is disrupting conventional viewing patterns while (at this juncture in his career at least) giving a product that has the outward appearance of being a mainstream entertainment (big stars, romantic drama, picture postcard location shooting, etc). Here's where the inappropriate interruptions of music comes into play.
That's kind of what bothered me about Godard in some other films of his. Perhaps most notably the minute of silence in Band of Outsiders. It just feels like messing with form for the sake of messing with form in a very "oooh look what an innovator I am" way and putting the very showy rule breaking in place of substance rather than in service of it.

(Reading this back, for some reason I feel it might read like I'm being rude, so in case it reads that way to you, too - wasn't intended that way at all and I appreciate your answer.)
No worries. And my rebuttal to your response would be that for Godard, this kind of thing is substance and part of how he engages with film as a medium. Metatextual meaning and distancing techniques are inherently unpopular with many viewers, so I wouldn't even say your negative reaction is unusual, though I think it's easy to follow that throughline into thinking that because Godard plays so fast and loose with the basic toolkit that it means he doesn't have any rigor or ideas driving his upending and is just goofin' around. I'd say this is where critical appreciations and studies of Godard can go a long way towards grounding his approach in meaning, which is where it sounds like the struggle is occurring on your end. We all have our outlying taste disagreements, so ultimately Godard just may not be for you no matter what anyone can say about it, but if you're able to get over that hurdle, you might find his films rewarding enough to continue to put the extra effort into them.

User avatar
TheKieslowskiHaze
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:37 am

Re: 171 Contempt

#150 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:38 pm

Constable wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:38 pm
That's kind of what bothered me about Godard in some other films of his. Perhaps most notably the minute of silence in Band of Outsiders. It just feels like messing with form for the sake of messing with form in a very "oooh look what an innovator I am" way and putting the very showy rule breaking in place of substance rather than in service of it.
Some will disagree with me, but I do think there is a case for the moral value of watching Godard. I.e. his art isn't just art for art's sake.

His explicit artifice, his deconstructions of form, his insistence that viewers see the strings are ways of resisting the idea that movies are fantasies we should unthinkingly get sucked into. He wants us to recognize that movies are fake; he celebrates and sees the beauty in this. But that's also a way of acknowledging how movies can be dangerously intoxicating, that they can powerfully influence how we think and feel (see: propaganda).

Godard is like the antidote to propaganda. It gets more complicated than that, sure. But that's the start of a case I'd make for the extra-textual substance of his oeuvre.

Post Reply