Review: Jean-Luc Godard's Film "Contempt"

"Contempt" (1963) is a movie that has lots to say, but very little interest in communication. It's like an angry child who could get what he wants if he agrees to stop pouting and talk it out. The film is pure arrogance and, well, contempt. For what? Hollywood, Americana, film dogma, storytelling, authority, and anything else you've got to offer.

It's not easy to enjoy, though it has it's moments. The second act, during which the film's couple argue in their apartment, is pretty fascinating. The camerawork during this 30-minute scene is interesting enough on its own, but the dialog is what stands out. The seemingly happy couple are suddenly headed straight for divorce, and we're never really told why, though we have a few hints to go on. The way Godard's actors play the scene is wonderful, with a perfect degree of subtly and artificial detachment. The rest of the film is mostly unengaging and confusing. We're never sure what it is Godard is trying to say, if anything. Acts one and three of the film feel aimless, yet always on the verge of something special. Funny enough, I think Godard would agree with me on these points.