Contempt: And God Created Bardot

50 years later, the star--and Godard--still ravish

Photographs courtesy Rialto Pictures

Location Info


Film Forum

209 W. Houston St.
New York, NY 10014

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Greenwich Village


Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Rialto Pictures
Opens September 6, Film Forum

Godard himself once wrote, "The eye, since it can say everything, then deny everything because it is merely casual, is the key piece in the film actor's game. One only looks what one feels, and what one does not wish to reveal as one's secret." What does Bardot-as-Camille see with those eyes? She sees indifference, and it has taken the shape of her husband—it's nothing so abstract as illusion. This, Godard seems to be saying, is what cinema can show us. If love doesn't kill you, the movies will.

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"...the movie's stunning opening sequence, rouge-tinted for no good reason..."

Really? 50 years on and you don't know about the opening sequence? It was added at the last minute after Godard considered the film finished, as the American co-producers hadn't gotten enough of Bardot, or more specifically, her body.

So Godard famously added it as a tease, and confounded the Americans' glimpses of Bardot by using the tinting to somewhat obscure her, essentially making fun of the US film industry's tame use of nudity at the time when European cinema was not so prudish.

In an semi-unrelated, and disgusting turn of events, I just saw last night a commercial for some perfume (or something) that used the location of the great villa seen in "Contempt" as its backdrop.

I sense Coutard spinning in his grave, which is a good trick, as the great man is still alive!


@Eliot Masters 

Thank you for telling us about yourself. Now we know to avoid you.


@ILPS9000: my thoughts exactly, on zacharek's remark.  also, i wonder whether she has even seen the film, considering that she makes a few factual errors.  finally, i need to add that *contempt* was a co-production: joe levine *and* carlo ponti.  it was ponti who famously remarked that he could not release a film starring bardot unless she was naked.  so, this is not about american pruderie, after all.


Bardot is a timeless beauty and in this movie she show she is the most beautiful motion picture actress ever


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