Week 6 Blog Assignment

Contempt was unlike any movie I’ve ever seen. This film is filled with different aspects of cinematography and many editing techniques. It is a unfortunate tale of a couple’s tumultuous relationship and the acting deeply reflects their “contempt” for each other. One of the aspects of the film that really stood out to me was the use of the colors red and blue. Prokosch’s car, the sofa in Paul and Camille’s apartment and Camille’s towel were red. The sofa in Prokosch’s villa was blue and the eyes of the Greek statues and even the character’s clothing was red or blue.The color red symbolized the passion of love and ultimately in the end, death. Blue symbolized the fading of love, growing colder and deeper into the blue waters like the ocean in the ending scenes. The blue couch in Prokosch’s villa is a perfect example of this, because there we witness Camille’s infidelity. I also thought it was ironic that Prokosch was wearing a bright red sweater at the end of the film when he dies, and red blood rushes down his face. Red is the color of blood, so it symbolizes their death.

Another thing that was brought to my attention was the lighting in the film. The bedroom scene in the beginning of the movie played with light tremendously. At first the room is dark with very high contrast so we can see the character’s shadows. Then the room turns bright, then dark again. I also noticed that in the scene in which Camille and Paul are having a serious talk in the apartment and sitting across from each other, there is a flickering lamp in between their faces. The scene switches back and forth between close up shots on Paul and Camille’s face. Each time the shots were switched, the lamp in the middle of the table would turn on and then off. This is symbolic of their love flickering and burning out.

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3 thoughts on “Week 6 Blog Assignment

  1. Thank you for finally talking about the colors! I thought it was such a big deal since the reoccurrence of the red and blue was so obvious. I especially remember the scene where Camille is kissing Jeremy to get back at Paul for whatever it was he did to her. When he was looking for her, he was wearing white and the sky was so blue. Then when he sees her in the window with Jeremy, the wall is completely red. There was such a contrast between the two with Paul far away and Camille seeming to put on a show in the window. Red was also a big deal when the music changed and he walked down the steps. The translator then mentions a gun and you feel like something is definitely going to happen. This scene also foreshadows the death of Camille. Overall, the film was so symbolic and deep but it is ironic because the plot was not deep at all.

  2. I think that the lighting in this film was one of the most important factors as well as the framing of each shot in terms of analyzing it. This film does not really use plot to tell the story; rather, it lets its mise en scene, lighting, and shot structure tell the story. I agree that this is evident in the scene at the beginning, where Camille and Paul are in bed together. The lighting here is ever changing, foreshadowing the jerky and precarious relationship that they will have. But it is much more evident in the thirty minute or so sequence where Paul and Camille talk together in their apartment, and become estranged from each other. I believe this to be the best, and most important part of the film. Not only does this sequence posses the incredible acting and tension between the two, but it also is a masterpiece in terms of framing and light. Each shot is meticulously framed to create some sort of distance between the two, whether its the lamp like you talked about, or the walls in the middle of the shot, or even the use of foreground and background.

  3. Tacking on to the incredibly apt and accurate colour paragraph, I think it might be worth noting that the film often cuts from Jeremy to Neptune (whose eyes are blue), both establishing Jeremy as the modern day Neptune to Paul’s Odysseus, as well as displaying to the viewer, like you said, that in some manner, Neptune/Jeremy is responsible for the decay of this marriage. Or at least has a hand in it, I believe.

    I’m afraid to say, that during the lamp scene, I missed the symbolism behind the lamp oscillating between on and off. I took it at the face value and simply assumed that Camille was not interested. Your interpretation takes it a level deeper than that, well done.

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