Saturday, August 27, 2005

"Contempt" by Jean-Luc Godard

In "Contempt", the melancholy Mahler-inspired music by Georges Delerue keeps the drama floating in the pristine lake of Godardian cinema. Georges Delerue, who died in 1992 in Los Angeles and whose long credit list includes "The Conformist" and "Platoon", belongs in the pantheon of movie music gods like Bernard Herrmann and Nino Rota. To this day, if I am in a nostalgic mood, I can still whistle more than a few bars of the theme music from "The Conformist".

The wide-screen Cinemascope color photography in "Contempt" is magnificently preserved in the DVD copy I viewed, so is the precious technicolor imagery of Brigitte Bardot in her finest natural form. "Contempt" is about moviemaking, and Godard presents the insider-drama like a tall glass of iced coffee in the summertime. This movie is, without a doubt, the epitome of "coolness"; for instance, when the husband-and-wife couple, played by Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot, fight over who doesn't love whom any more, it is like the coolest catty fight ever recorded in the celluloid history. All the actors in "Contempt" -- Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli, Fritz Lang, et al -- could claim that they have been immortalized in the cinematic parallel universe created by Jean-Luc Godard, and they would be right.

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