Contempt

So, yeah, Contempt. French New Wave films. I can see this being a polarising film; personally, I wasn’t a fan. I simply disliked the progression of the plot, which seemed thin. But that’s neither here nor there, and I won’t talk of it here. Except to say that Camille was just terrible.

The cinematography in the film is hard to critique. It was rich with complex techniques and interesting angles and lenses. We discussed different focuses in the scenes, such as the introduction of Jeremy Prokosch, or that really weird theatre scene. That theatre scene bothered me.

Space and time were frequently distorted in Contempt, as I’m sure we all noticed. I found the ability of the cinematographer to warp space so was impressive. Every scene in the apartment was focused to exaggerate the distance (figuratively and literally) between Camille and Paul. I particularly enjoyed the strategic use of props and set to always position something between the two, be it a wall, or, most notably, a lamp. The lamp scene not only put a prop in between the two, but also panned the cameras, creating more of a feeling of separation than normal. (An impressive achievement).

One last note, the tale of the Odyssey that Paul would constantly discuss mirrored the events of his own life. He was the titular Odysseus, Camille was Penelope, and after several cuts from Jeremy to the statue of Neptune, we could easily say that Jeremy is Neptune. Paul even proposes a theory that Penelope simply ceased to love him, which sounds familiar, having seen the movie.

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One thought on “Contempt

  1. Oh definitely, I can see what you mean by polarizing. It’s really a hit or miss for me. I too really disliked that the plot progression, it was really prolonged, but after looking back on it, it makes sense in the scale of time a relationship would progress. Nonetheless, I really do not like it. It was relatively slow and sometimes things just happened, some that made more sense than others; I’m looking at the theater scene in particularly.

    But what really impressed me the most is the cinematography. It made an otherwise uninteresting scene to an emotional roller coaster with mere framing and angling. The apartment scene most notably, but the lamp scene is just much more intense with the camera shifting between the two. I myself did not care much for the two themselves, but the entirety of scenes really made it for me.

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