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Le Mepris (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray]

3.8 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli, Fritz Lang
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Sept. 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002BC9YYS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,627 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Jean-Luc Godard writes and directs this French drama starring Brigitte Bardot, Fritz Lang and Jack Palance. An aspiring playwright, Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), finds himself caught between the creative director (Lang) and the crass American producer, Jeremy Prokosch (Palance), on a movie adaptation of Homer's epic poem 'The Odyssey'. While the director wants to faithfully recreate Homer's world artistically, the producer demands a more commercial feature and waves his mighty chequebook to make it happen. When Paul finds himself swayed by the power of the producer's money, he finds his wife Camille (Bardot) begins to regard him with increasing contempt.

From Amazon.co.uk

Starring Brigitte Bardot, then at the height of her fame, and Michel Piccoli as a married couple tearing the last strips off a failing marriage, Le Mépris is both one of Jean-Luc Godard's most accessible films and perhaps his most excoriating and emotionally raw. Godard and his regular cinematographer Raoul Coutard (lensman for most of the greatest films of the New Wave) splashed out the budget for this international co-production on Bardot's salary and gorgeous CinemaScope photography to capture the Italian setting's intense beauty, bright as a knife.

The nominal story concerns the film production of an adaptation of Homer's Odyssey, on which Piccoli is the scriptwriter, much to the disgust of his wife Camille (Bardot) who preferred life when he merely wrote novels. Hired by Jack Palance's swaggering American producer to adapt the Greek epic for a film to be directed by the august Fritz Lang (director of M, here playing himself), Paul inadvertently sets in motion the elements which will unravel his marriage, earning his wife's contempt (the closest translation of the French word "mépris"). Soon, the tenderness of the film's opening sequence--wherein they loll naked on a bed as she coquettishly solicits his approval of each of her body parts--gives way to harrowing bickering, the meat of film's central 35-minute scene which will induce pained winces in anyone who has ever been through a bitter split-up. If that sounds harrowing, be reassured that Le Mépris is not without its lighter moments and joys: Godard's trademarked musings on the nature of cinema, Bardot looking exquisitely chic in a selection of soigné little outfits, Lang bemusedly quoting the German poet Hölderlin and Bertolt Brecht. As mannered as the New Wave posturings now seem, Le Mépris still looks unbeatably stylish, its themes as eternal as Homer and the Capri landscape. --Leslie Felperin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Davidson VINE VOICE on 11 Oct. 2005
Format: DVD
"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.
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By technoguy VINE VOICE on 29 May 2009
Format: DVD
Godard's one flirtation with mainstream cinema is a magnificent visual essay critiquing itself. Cinemascope,a new-fangled toy, is a play thing to Godard, whether he's filming inside a new flat or the beautiful waters around Capri. He has Palance(the producer Jerry), and Bardot(Camille) in the same film with Lang(as himself), one of the Masters Godard revered. Paul(Piccoli) has been asked by the philistine producer, Jerry, to rewrite Lang's classical homage to the ancient world of The Odyssey. There's no depth to the film, but it is based on a Moravia novel and within its terms it somehow works. The essence of the film is the ebb and flow of emotions between the lovers, Paul and Camille,in the middle of the film shot effectively in the couple's apartment. Resentment grows into contempt, off-set by flickers of tenderness and love. Paul debates with Lang that Ulysses went to the Trojan war to get away from Penelope. He also says, Ulysses loves his wife, but she doesn't love him, in support of Jerry's view that Penelope is unfaithful. That story reflects his own with Camille. She, like Penelope develops contempt for her husband, Paul, as he sells out on this commercial enterprise,by using her as a bartering tool with Jerry. For Lang, the beauty of the Odyssey, is in the belief in reality as it is, without distortion. But he, like Paul, has to barter with lies in the market place. To Lang, Ulysses is a simple,cunning and daring man.Jerry just wants to seduce Camille and once he gets her by boat to his villa he does.

Ulysses told Penelope to be nice to the suitors. To win her love back he has to kill them. Bardot may never have struck one as an actress but in this film she pulls off the performance of a lifetime ,startled, vulnerable, flushed and defiant.
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Format: DVD
Quite seriously in my view the best film directed by Jean Luc-Godard & I've seen most of them.I had read the novella ("A Ghost at Noon" by Alberto Moravia),on which it is based,before I first saw the film at an art house in the early 1970s & I thought it stunning....it was made in the early 60s but was deemed too non-commercial for general release.Godard has brilliantly telescoped the story & action into a few days.Stunningly shot with haunting music by Georges Delerue, I find it a deeply moving & superbly acted tale of the collapse of a marriage.Bardot is,of course,ravishing ...made when she was in her late 20s...but do not expect any soft-core erotica a la "Et Dieu crea la femme"...just an essay in classic cinema with no cine-gimmicks that ,for me,spoils some of Godard's other work.Utterly delighted it's now available on DVD..I have a VHS copy that is getting old through years of playing.
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Format: VHS Tape
The striking red-yellow-blue colours of this film frame a harrowing, enigmatic narrative which refuses to be reduced by simple explanations. The (predominantly male) eye of the camera tenderly takes apart Brigitte Bardot's beautiful body, the female object to be looked-at. But as communication breaks down in Camille and her scriptwriter husband's marriage, woman becomes subject and man becomes object - the object of contempt. Camilles's silences, that is what she refuses to explain to her husband, is her power, so her contempt for him is never explicitly explained in the film, leaving the spectator's mind to go over and over the sparse dialogue. In the idyllic Italian landscape, with its azure sea, the story of the Odyssey is made to resonate painfully with the tragedy of a perfect love turned irrevocably sour. There's no doubt that this is a sad film, and its rather dated style may seem strange to the modern eye, but it is still incredibly powerful and striking. This wonderful film won't leave your memory quickly.
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