Films & Architecture: “Contempt”

In collaboration with Carlo Ponti, , one of the main representatives of the 60′s French film movement La Nouvelle Vague, adapted the Alberto Moravia novel Il disprezzo (A Ghost at Noon), written almost 10 years before, into Contempt. The result is a film where each scene is a composition in terms of colour, proportion, and contrast. And as an extra gift for us architects, most of the story takes place in and around the Villa Malaparte in island, a stunning house on a rocky coast.

We invite you to enjoy this classic and let us know your ideas about the movie, this amazing house and the relationship with the surrounding landscape. More after the break.

MAIN INFO

Original title: Le Mépris
Year: 1963
Runtime: 102 min.
Country: France, Italy
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Writer: Alberto Moravia (novel), Jean-Luc Godard
Soundtrack: Piero Piccioni
Cast: Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, Giorgia Moll, Fritz Lang

PLOT

American film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) hires respected Austrian director Fritz Lang (playing himself) to direct a film adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. Dissatisfied with Lang’s treatment of the material as an art film, Prokosch hires Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), a novelist and playwright, to rework the script. The conflict between artistic expression and commercial opportunity parallels Paul’s sudden estrangement from his wife Camille Javal (Brigitte Bardot), who becomes aloof with Paul after being left alone with Prokosch, a millionaire playboy.

While founded on Alberto Moravia’s story of the progressive estrangement between a husband and wife, Godard’s version also contains deliberate parallels with aspects of his own life: while Paul, Camille, and Prokosch correspond to Ulysses, Penelope, and Poseidon, respectively, they also correspond in some ways with Godard, his wife Anna Karina (his choice of female lead), and Joseph E. Levine, the film’s distributor. At one point, Bardot dons a black wig which gives her a resemblance to Karina. Michel Piccoli also bears some resemblance to Brigitte Bardot’s ex-husband, the filmmaker Roger Vadim.


Also notable in the film is a discussion of Dante – particularly Canto XXVI of Inferno, about Ulysses’ last fatal voyage beyond the Pillars of Hercules to the other side of the world – and Friedrich Hölderlin’s poem, “Dichterberuf” (“The Poet’s Vocation”).

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Cite: Portilla, Daniel. "Films & Architecture: “Contempt”" 18 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=308345>