Contempt

In Italy, Fritz Lang is shooting The Odyssey for an American producer (Jack Palance). Fritz mourns classical culture but will settle for swords and sandals; like The Odyssey, Contempt is about man against circumstances, and such is the circumstance of cinema. The screenwriter, Paul (Michel Piccoli), meanwhile, becomes lost in Rome, and during his odyssey, his wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot) enters into a crisis of contempt. Contempt becomes very much Camille/Penelope's story as, on Paul's return, this marriage is dissected while they/we are trapped for thirty minutes within the walls of their apartment. With its colors and compositions, its ruins in Italy, its vistas, and especially its movement, Contempt is epic, but it is an epic stripped bare by its director, leaving dialogue as flat as Jack Palance's face; a circumstance as void as Paul and Camille's marriage; and the filming of a film within a film, which is unstoppable.

Contempt is repeated on Thursday, September 11.

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