Contempt

103 mins.
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
NR
French with subtitles
1963

New 4K restoration!

Michel Picoli stars as Paul Javal, a novelist hired by American film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) to rework the script for a film adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. Torn between a desire to preserve his artistic integrity and the promise of a paycheck, Paul is also trying to salvage his marriage to Camille (Brigitte Bardot), who develops a relationship with Prokosch, first at Paul's suggestion and then to his chagrin.

Based loosely on Alberto Moravia’s 1954 novel The Ghost At Noon, Godard’s 1963 film also draws heavily from Greek tragedy, Godard’s rocky relationship with his then-wife Anna Karina, and the real-life drama surrounding the film’s production. Shot in dazzling Cinemascope at the legendary Cinecittà film studio in Rome and on the island of Capri, Raoul Coutard’s cinematography is sublime in its astounding color and scope of image.

CONTEMPT is Godard’s most successful fusion of artistic commentary, compelling and affecting story, and breathtaking beauty.


CONTEMPT was restored and digitized in 4K by Studiocanal from 2021 to 2023 at Hiventy with support from the CNC. This new 4K version was an opportunity to return to the original color grading of the film. In order to optimize the 4K restoration, the original 35mm negative and scenes from the interpositive were used along with the reference print reworked in 2002 by Raoul Coutard, the film’s director of photography.

This 4K DCP restoration required about 50 hours of preliminary wiping, checking, and physical repairs before the original elements could be scanned. More than 200 hours of graphic palette were necessary to erase frame by frame alterations and dust on the film.

The previous digital versions had flaws in the nuances of low and high-key lighting. Furthermore, the colors deviated from the director’s specifications. Thanks to documented information, the original contrasts, details, and saturation were restored.  


“What makes CONTEMPT a singular viewing experience today, even more than in 1963, is the way it stimulates an audience's intelligence as well as its senses... in CONTEMPT, Godard was able to strike his deepest human chords.” Phillip Lopate, New York Times