Friday, January 23, 2009

Contempt@ the Charles Theatre this week

This week’s revival:
Jean-Luc Godard’s “Contempt” (1963)
In Color and ‘Scope.

Saturday, January 24 at Noon
Monday, January 26 at 7PM
Thursday, January 29 at 9PM

“...Contempt focuses on the relationship between playwright Paul Javel (Piccoli) and his wife Camille (Bardot), a former typist. While in Rome, Paul gets hired by American producer Jeremy Prokosch (Palance) to doctor the script for an international blockbuster, based on Homer's Odyssey, being directed by Fritz Lang (Lang himself). Shortly after Paul is hired, in the ruins of a once bustling Italian studio (Cinecitta) that has just been sold, the writer insists that Camille ride in Prokosch's red Alfa-Romeo to the producer's villa outside Rome while he follows in a taxi; this flip gesture sparks the protracted on-again, off-again quarrel between Camille and Paul in their flat... The action shifts to Capri, where the film of the Odyssey is being shot and the remainder of Contempt unfolds, charting the growing estrangement between the couple and Prokosch's interest in an affair with Camille...." Click for extended examination of CONTEMPT by Jonathan Rosenbaum

CONTEMPT website and Trailer

“One of the defining moments of modernist filmmaking, a movie that takes place amid the smoldering ruins of the studio system, creating much of the language and spirit of the new cinema even as it deeply, solemnly mourns the loss of the old. A film that teeters between filial loyalty and Oedipal revolt, between allegiance to a unified, classical system and an angry impatience to get on with the new, Contempt is one of those works in which you can feel the aesthetic ground shifting beneath your feet. Like a Cezanne still life or a Sullivan skyscraper, it yields a low rumble—the sound of rules changing…With its widescreen image restored, its multilingual soundtrack returned, and its dazzling, pop-art colors refurbished, Contempt is now ready to retake its place in film history as the richest film of Godard’s first period, and perhaps the most complete and satisfying career of his entire career."
– Dave Kehr, Film Comment

"One of the masterworks of modern cinema that has influenced a generation of filmmakers… What makes Contempt so unique a viewing experience, even more than in 1963, is the way it stimulates an audience's attention as well as its senses… Godardians regard Contempt as an anomaly, the master's most 'orthodox' movie. The paradox is that it may also be his finest...with Contempt Godard was able to strike his deepest human chords."
– Phillip Lopate, The New York Times

“Brilliant, romantic and genuinely tragic.
It's also one of the greatest films ever made about the actual process of moviemaking."
– Martin Scorsese

"the greatest work of art produced in postwar Europe," - Colin MacCabe, Sight and Sound