Monday, April 27, 2009

Everything Really Is All About Me


How else am I to read today's coincidence?

I watched Godard's 1963 film Contempt yesterday; shamefully here is where I admit it's the first Godard film I've seen, and I don't know that it was the greatest entry point. I found it fascinating, but pretty frustrating at the same time. Roger Ebert says of the film -

"Contempt is not one of the great Godard films, for reasons it makes clear. In a way, it's about its own shortcomings. A drama exists at ground level involving the characters, while the film fights between the tendency to elevate them into art (Lang) or vulgarize them into commerce (Palance). It is interesting to see, and has moments of brilliance (the marital argument, the use of the villa steps), but its real importance is as a failed experiment. Contempt taught Godard he could not make films like this, and so he included himself out, and went on to make the films he could make."

- and that makes a lot of sense to me. But it was a beautiful movie to look at and along with Belle de jour which I also caught this weekend for the first time (and adored), I sorta had a crash-course in early Michael Piccoli which was fun.

Anyway, Contempt is about the fight between Fritz Lang, who's attempting to make an art-film version of The Odyssey, and his producer played by Jack Palance who wants a swords-and-sandals epic type of film, and today comes the news that Warner Bros. is going to make a film out of The Odyssey with the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.


So you see what I mean? I watched a movie yesterday about the very battle today's news is inspiring in my brain! Crazy!

Well at least Scylla and Charybdis should be neat-o...

And this is where I ask y'all what Godard should I watch next? I have a copy of Breathless beside my TV...


Anonymous said...

Pierrot le fou is my favorite of Godard's. Jean-Paul Belmondo is yummy!

Petter said...

A Woman is a woman is the best of the early ones. It's a comedy. With song and dance.
Also with Jean Paul Belmondo.

scroggins said...

Don't trust Ebert. He's only right about 35% of the time. If asked to choose between middle-brow populist cinema or elitist niche cinema, he'd pick the former every time. Just one example off the laundry list of gross errors in Ebert's judgment: he gives the best American film of the 21st century, There Will Be Blood, 3 and a half stars and complains that "it doesn't have enough women in it" and then gives Juno 4 stars and proclaims it the Best Film of the Year.

Contempt is vastly superior to Breathless (which resides in his "The Great Movies II" book). Ebert can kiss my ass.

scroggins said...

None of this vitriol is intended to be directed at you, JA. I wish Ebert would make less of these statements ("Contempt is not one of the great Godard films") that sound like objective pronouncements instead of what they really are, published opinions. A journalism degree and yes, even a Pulitzer, does not magically transform capricious, whimsical taste into authoritative decree.