"Le Mepris" is another superb Godard movie. It tells the story of the marital difficulties of a scriptwriter (Piccoli) and his typist wife (Bardot) as Piccoli's involvement in the filming of Homer's "Odyssey" (directed by Fritz Lang) causes friction between the pair.The film starts off with the couple very much in love, but a perceived slight by Piccoli on his wife and a flirtation by him with the film producer's female assistant him act as the catalyst for the unhinging of their relationship.
"Le Mepris" is filmed exquisitely; its colours are vivid , the mood languid and pensive , the soundtrack haunting. Like in "Au Bout de Souffle", Godard's female lead is capricious and mysterious,beautiful but dangerous. She turns a minor display of indifference by her husband into a marital make or break ,much to his surprise. However as the film unravels ,we see that the harmony and tenderness of the couple in the opening scenes disguises fundamental shifts in the balance of their relationship. Piccoli has a sharper intellect and more ambition than Bardot and she feels he is leaving her behind, only her physical beauty appealing to him. She wants to bring things to a head, restore the marital equilibrium in some way ; Piccoli is merely bemused at her sudden coldness to him.
The viewer never quite knows whether the marital problems are down to Piccoli's insensitivity or Bardot's irrationality, in the same way as the subplot of the filming of the "Odyssey" leads to debate about whether either Odysseus or Penelope were secretly fed up with each other despite appearances to the contrary on the surface and who was most to blame.
An enjoyable film which has much to say about the fickleness of modern relationships and Bardot's portrayal of a selfish,cold bitch/ strong ,liberated woman (delete as appropriate) was ahead of its time by several decades.