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Director Antoine de Gaudemar
Writers Antoine de Gaudemar, Serge July, Marie Genin
Image Caroline Champetier, Pierre Isnardon, Sebastian Dewsbery
Sound Thierry Blandin
Editing Marie Da Costa
Length 52 minutes
Format 16/9
Versions French & English
Broadcasters France5, TCM, TSR, YLE, Canal+ Poland


  • Jean-Luc GODARD, director
  • Michel PICCOLI, actor
  • Charles BITSCH, first assistant director on Contempt
  • Jacques ROZIER, director of the documentary “Paparazzi”
  • Alain BERGALA, film historian

Portrait of a film. Contempt is a film about cinema. Adapted in 1963 from a famous novel by Alberto Moravia, the film is shot in cinemascope and in colour, and endowed with considerable financial resources by a trio of French, Italian and American producers. During the filming of a peplum, two mythical characters of the cinema play opposite each other: Brigitte Bardot, a global icon at the time, who plays the young wife of a screenwriter (Michel Piccoli), and Fritz Lang, who plays himself. Between Rome and Capri, the two couples break up: the legendary filmmaker and his American producer, the film scriptwriter who betrays Fritz Lang for money and his disenchanted wife.

Portrait of an era. Contempt is a long panoramic shot, both nostalgic and moving, of the greatest crisis in the history of cinema, at the turn of the 50s and 60s, around the time when television was thriving, Film production was collapsing, and thousands of cinemas were closing down. While Hollywood veterans were reaching the twilight of their life, those lucky enough to still find work played opposite each other in historical epics on the old continent. The number of transatlantic co-productions was on the rise. In France, Britain, Italy, Sweden and Eastern Europe, cinema seemed to be reinventing itself.

Jean-Luc Godard directed the death of classical cinema and simultaneously the death of the last film star. A few more years and Brigitte Bardot would in turn disappear from the big screen. On stage, Rock’n roll artists were inspiring millions of fans and generating tremendous crowd movement. A few years before the American-Vietnamese nightmare, the baby boomers, who were about 15 to 20 years old, were living in an intensely creative and colourful Europe.

Portrait of a filmmaker.  Jean-Luc Godard is 33 years old when he directs Contempt. With François Truffaut, he is one of the leaders of the “New Wave”. “Jean-Luc Godard doesn’t make movies, he makes cinema” said his operator Raoul Coutard about him. Contempt is a love story about a classical, European and American cinema that is on the verge of disappearing and which, with the team of Les Cahiers du Cinéma, Jean-Luc Godard will have exposed its capital importance. Contempt also has an autobiographical dimension. The domestic scenes of the couple Bardot – Piccoli are modeled on the tormented couple that Jean-luc Godard forms with Anna Karina at the time, down to their expressions, their words, their feelings, their clothing and their gestures.