Contempt (1963)

Contempt is distant, but fascinating. I guess that's what you get when you watch a metacinematic Jean-Luc Godard film. You're never unaware of the fact that you're watching a movie. They talk about the movies, they're making a movie, the beginning scene that could be intimate is interrupt by color overlays of red, yellow, and blue. In other words, distant seems to be the point.

It's mostly about the dissolution of a marriage, but it's done so subtly and common place that it's easy to think the couple in question is just having a usual fight. A huge portion of the film takes place in Paul and Camille's flat where they argue about Prokosch, the producer of the film Paul is writing the screenplay for. And when I say argue, I mean real people argument, where you say vaguely hurtful things, but aren't yelling. Honestly, it feels like the scene lasts forever playing out in real time, but it's also fascinating to watch. How rare it is to watch actors do boring stuff like setting the table, taking short baths, or turn a lamp on and off and have that be where your concentration is on. But that's pulls your focus as you watch these characters discuss, but mostly evade, what's going on between them.

Doing every day stuff, vaguely fighting.

In the end, it's not an emotional film. It's filled with long takes and silences, only broken up by a clinical, but beautiful and melancholy score:

There are no histrionics. Just a slow fading relationship. The only thing we do know about how the characters feel is how they interpret the relationship between Ulysses and Penelope in The Odyssey. When the only levity in the film is the stark pragmatism of Fritz Lang's director character, you're not in for a fluffy cinematic experience.

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