• Son of Griff

    CONTEMPT makes an interesting dialogic double feature with 8 1/2 released the same year, in that both deal with the creative dilemmas of film artists from different ideological perspectives (Marxist v. Freudian) that nevertheless display (and indulge in) a blatant misogyny tied to the artistic process. These directors take a very critical view of the conditions and circumstances by which movies are produced, but accept the objectification of women as a necessary byproduct of that. Female autonomy and resistance is a force that the director’s deal with, making women the inherent antagonists in these dramas. As John Bruni would say, we should read these movies against the grain, that is, against the cultural expectations of the artists, to recover a deeper way in which women might identify with these films.

    The central tension in Godard’s pre 1968 films lies in how to display how the timeless, universal properties of art often conflict with the synchronic nature of the movie making process. CONTEMPT seems very hyper-aware in how it seeks to immerse the viewer in spacial and temporal continuity, making it the opposite of the deliberately disjointed BREATHLESS. Characterization is subordinated to style in this movie, which is best appreciated as a more abstract meditation on filmmaking as a failed vehicle for mastering power over one’s objects of desire.