While not my favorite of Godard’s films, Contempt is still a film worth seeking out- especially in a newly restore print making the rounds. While any of Godard’s films from the period are worth the time on their own merits, Contempt is most noteworthy, at least to these eyes, for being a classic vehicle for Brigitte Bardot.
For starters, she’s lovingly filmed- which is a singularly enjoyable enhancement to any film – assuming your preference is for women. Thankfully, since I saw this with my girlfriend, her performance is truly memorable, which makes the whole male gaze thing more palatable for folks who are less interested in staring at Bardot for an hour and a half. For most of the film’s 100 minute running time, she’s a mistress of attitude, posture and expression, grinding her husband (for whom she feels the titular contempt) into paste. Possessing an incredible, hypnotic screen presence, Bardot owns the film completely and does so much in the details it’s basically impossible to take your eyes off of her. That includes the time she spends partnered up with scene swallower Jack Palance. If she can deflect that guy’s ability to distract and annoy you know she’s up to something.
Check it out if you get the chance.