cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM GODARD Le Mépris [1963] – reviews old and new

Le Mépris

French at Drake

Classic ‘Contempt’ gets a new life

Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 11 April, 2008

Contempt (1963): Masterpieces of World Cinema


Emanuel Levy (undated)

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Le Mepris [1963] | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY For Ever Godard. Two or three things I know about European and American Cinema – Peder Grøngaard

For Ever Godard.

– Two or three things I know about European and American Cinema

Peder Grøngaard

P.O.V No. 12 – Comparing American and European Cinema

Jeremy Irons quote on American and European cinema

Nugget in section ‘A Story of a Film Being Made’: some details on why Godard chose a Hölderlin quote to come out of the mouth of Fritz Lang in Le Mepris.

February 25, 2012 Posted by | European cinema, Godard | , , | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD Bande à Part (Band of Outsiders, 1964)

Bande à Part

From Cinemania Dan Jardinedid a long post with plenty of stills, 15 July 2011, which links to reviews of a handful of other reviews of Godard’s.

February 24, 2012 Posted by | Godard | | Leave a comment


New Wave Film

French New Wave and international new wave cinema

♦ An extensive New Wave Encyclopedia forms part of this comprehensive site

► For example, Nouvelle Vague: Where to Start has a well laid-out section 2. What are the best films for beginners? – divided into 3: Cahiers de Cinema Directors, The Left Bank group, and Innovators, Mavericks and Inheritors : each film described in brief with a poster thumbnail graphic, forming part of a colourful two-column block, making the whole process of looking for what there is and where to start (and also coming back to keep tabs on where one has got!) much more enjoyable than unrelenting filmography lists.

February 24, 2012 Posted by | New Wave | Leave a comment

FILM TRUFFAUT Love on the Run: The Films of François Truffaut

Love on the Run: The Films of François Truffaut

from: Not Coming to a Theater near You

♦ Short intro ♦ film chronology (just name and date) ♦ Each film in listing links to short review

February 17, 2012 Posted by | francois truffaut, Truffaut | , | Leave a comment

FILM TRUFFAUT Le Dernier Métro [1980] – Daxiat is Laubreaux

The Last metro: François Truffaut, director


Mirella Jona Affron

Google Book

The drama of fallen France: reading la comédie sans tickets


Kenneth Krauss

Google Book


Occupied Minds – French culture under Nazi rule remained surprisingly vibrant

Robert O Paxton, Bookforum, June/July/Aug 2009

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Truffaut | , , | Leave a comment

FILM TRUFFAUT The Origins and Uses of Love in the Cinema of François Truffaut

The Origins and Uses of Love in the Cinema of François Truffaut


Mark Robert Harris, September 1992

An MA Thesis.

Well, yes. All sorts of little bits and pieces in there.

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Truffaut | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD Le Mepris [1963] – La méprise en Le Mépris

Still from beginning of Le Mepris – Raoul Coutard, cinematographer. These words are spoken in French and appear on this version in English subtitles.

At the end another dolly shot:

Watch Le Mépris (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) – Part 11 (Youtube) to see the strange tracking shot with Odysseus shuffling sideways, to keep himself in frame, as the camera travels right to left.

“A simple film without a mystery, an Aristotelian film, stripped of appearance, Le Mepris proves in 149 shots that in the cinema, as in life, there is no secret, nothing to elucidate, merely the need to live – and to make films”

– Jean-Luc Godard in Godard on Godard.

Up to a point, Lord Copper

Godard is quoted unatributed in Le Mépris: Analysis of mise-en-scène by Roberto Donati, Offscreen, 30 November: 2009

‘C’est un film simple sur des choses compliquées’
-Jean-Luc Godard

This article together with The Eye of the Beholder: Marital Discord and Film Making in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mepris by Jason Mark Scott form essential reading for this film.

From The Film Club of Caen website Mempris page :

Le Mépris s’ouvre sur une phrase d’André Bazin : “le cinéma substitue à nos regards un monde qui s’accorde à nos désirs (cette phrase attribuée par Godard à André Bazin, est en fait, sous une forme légèrement différente “le cinéma est un regard qui se substitue au nôtre pour nous donner un monde accordé à nos désirs” de la plume de Michel Mourlet dans son article Sur un art ignoré publié dans le n° 98 des Cahiers du cinéma)

Contempt opens with a sentence of André Bazin, “The Cinema substitutes by our gaze a world that accords with our desires (this sentence attributed by Godard to André Bazin, is in fact, a slightly different form of, ” film, is a look that is substituted for our own to give us a world in accord with our desires” penned by Michel Mourlet in his article on an overlooked art published in Issue 98 of Cahiers du Cinema)

The Eye of the Beholder: Marital Discord and Film Making in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mepris

Jason Mark Scott, Offscreen 31 August 2008 :

Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mepris (Contempt, 1963) is routinely cited alongside Francois Truffaut’s La Nuit Américaine (Day For Night, 1973) and Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963) as one of the great European films about film making itself. However, Le Mepris sits uneasily alongside those films. Whereas the Truffaut and Fellini films are almost entirely given over to satirical meditations on the film making process, Godard’s film is first and foremost a portrait of a marriage, with textual reflections on the nature of cinema ultimately existing only so as to suggest the ways in which love, and love of the image, can become detrimentally linked. As Phillip Lopate has observed, Le Mepris “moves us because it is essentially the story of a marriage.” More precisely still, Godard’s film is the story of a film maker’s marriage.

Adding immediately after that when first released the reviews were unfavourable. Stanley Kauffmann

……suggested that the movie was likely to appeal only to “those interested in Brigitte Bardot’s behind.”

The bit that I’m taken with is:

During production, Raoul Coutard, the film’s cinematographer, told interviewers that “I am convinced that Godard is trying to explain something to his wife in Le Mepris. It’s a sort of letter”

If it was, it was a very long letter – though beautifully filmed by Coutard. Why shouldn’t film be about one’s personal journey? But how to make it watchable? I was hoping the scenes in the flat wouldn’t go on, but they did. Or is that the point? Maybe watch that section a few more times but that’ll hard since it’s not an entertainment. Probably just end up picking out all the things more careful watchers noticed about colours.


If a film-maker tends to include his own life and preoccupations in films he makes, then we can’t come to one of his films without pre-knowledge or pre-conceptions. We know the director, that’s why we chose to watch his film. If we end up being disappointed – the Piccolo/ Bardot falling out didn’t work for me – then on to his next effort. As with so many films I watch, the cinematography often rescues a film. True in buckets for Le Mepris.

Little parts of Le Mepris were amusing: the rushes scenes with Jack Palance as producer accusing the director, played by a real-life director, Fritz Lang (who the New wave auteurs admired), of not filming the agreed script, and ending up kicking can’s of film about in front of the viewing screen, finally picking up one and throwing it like a discus; producer Jack reading what he thought were apposite quotes from a minute book in his pocket. We may at first think these ready quotations are appropriate too, but with all the translating into three or four languages going on, who has the time to work it out; and Fritz Lang uttering words of wisdom: are these ideas and quotes the sort of thing Fritz Lang’s says anyway or something Godard wants him to say and doesn’t believe at all.


The same questions about films like Godard’s arise as they did about art, music, literature. Do we need to come forearmed with basic cultural knowledge in order to get anything out of them? If you come to Le Mepris knowing nothing of The Odyssey, then you are at a disadvantage. How is it possible to draw parallels between relationships in the film and in Homer without? In ignorance, this all passes you by till you read more about the film after watching it. Nothing wrong with that. But the one’s really getting something out Godard’s films as they are watched are the cognoscenti. The rest of us are in a way playing with fame – it’s a Godard, this is recommendation enough. Either read about it before hand and be forearmed, or afterwards and have it explained.


It struck me how a film-maker like Godard creates an archipelago of films, his life the water surrounding and dividing them, lapping on their shores. He can playfully refer to his own films or his own existence along this string of islands, his life always just off frame in any film he makes. Although the film is a recording of something he wants to put together, he sees the life and the work as contiguous and interchangeable. He clearly wants to make films, but when he’s living he’s preparing or making films as much as living his life. it’s a very intense process. He’s obsessed by film and works at it all the time. And at the end of the thought we see – fun if we could all do this! – that he can in any case make up for life’s deficiencies with film. But this is a power trip as well, because life will conform to your desires through film. You make actors do on film (or indeed on the theatre) what you want life to do but often does.

To move away from this film into the details of the lives of Godard and Karina, then threading the knowledge back into it and other films he has made, is not not a trivial pursuit.

Reading the Anna Karina entry in New Wave Film does help, though many film critics would argue for the material to stand for itself and not be propped up by the doings of the people who created it, but you can’t with Godard as you can’t with other New wave directors like Truffaut.

This 2 page piece, at the time of the publicity for the showing of the digitally re-mastered Pierrot le Fou, explains both sides more concisely.

Sexual Politics: Godard and Me

David Ehrenstein, LA Weekly, 15 April 2010

There is mention of a 1969 film on the relationship by Rivette, starring Bulle Ogier Jean-Pierre Kalfon, called L’Amour Fou.


L’Amour Fou (Jacques Rivette)

A 4:40 section of L’Amour Fou in Jacques Rivette: le Veilleur directed by Claire Denis & Serge Daney for “Cinéma, de notre temps” according to commenter carsecor.

Footnote 1 in Autodialogue by John Hughes

Footnote 1 is the text of the footnote Rosenbaum includes in his Rivette: Texts and Interviews.

“It seems possiblie that the following incident involving Godard and Anna Karina, described by Paul Gegauff, inspired the climatic scenes of destruction in L’amour fou:

‘Finally the door opened. What a scene! Jean-Luc, stark naked, in an icy, totally wrecked room. He had sent the piano flying in splinters, cut the strings, sawn the legs off the furniture, ripped the paintings, torn up the prints, slashed the hangings and curtains, shattered the telephone, broken the windows, drenched the carpet in India ink, smashed the vases, deciptated the busts, and all this methodically, in the spirit of Bonaparte rather than Attila, and much less concerned with revenge than with justice. All his clothes and Anna’s were lying on the ground in tatters, the sleeves slashed with a razor, in a mess of wine and broken glass. Jean-Luc’s first words appeared to be a justification: “Anyway, it’s a furnished flat.”

‘It was then, growing accustomed to the semi-darkness, that I noticed Anna on a sort of dais in the far corner of the room, also quite naked. With a top hat on her head, the sole survivor of the massacre, and her arms slowly waving, she was dancing a kind of lascivious jig. For a couple of hours Jean-Luc sat there in a prostrated silence right out of a Russian novel, in spite of himself admiring his wife’s shapely lines. “I’d offer you a glass of something,” he said, “only there aren’t any glasses left.” Then: “Go and buy us a couple of raincoats so that we can go out.”‘ (‘Salut les Coquins!’, Lui No. 84, Jan. 1971, p. 106.)”

(Rivette: Texts & Interviews, p. 94-5) (Ed.)

wiki:Paul Gégauff

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Le Mepris [1963] | | Leave a comment

FILM Truffaut vs. Godard

Truffaut vs. Godard

Connor Martin Smith, 4 June 2010 in blog Translatable Images

Quotes letters between Godard and Truffaut between 1959 and 1973 when Truffault’s Le Nuit Americaine was released.

There are no sources as one commenter remarks.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, 27 may 2010:

Godard and Truffaut: Their spiky, complex friendship is its own great story in ‘Two in the Wave’

a documentary film by Emmanuel Laurent


How they did love: Truffaut and Godard in Two in the Wave

Tom Dawson interviews Laurent in BFI

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FILM When Truffaut met Godard

When Truffaut met Godard


Tobias Grey

Financial Times, 21 January, 2011

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Godard/Truffaut, Truffaut | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR TRUFFAUT ~ ~ 6 February 1932 – 21 October 1984 ~ ~ ” Le Cinema Règne” ~

Or perhaps as Truffault might have preferred:

Perhaps as we write, speak, play with images and ideas about Truffaut, M. Godard will be playing with the Truffault Google Doodle as well:

François Truffaut’s Google doodle is a modern memento mori

Google’s Doodle for 6 February 2013 – Truffaut would have been 80. Fun to imagine what it would be like to compare the filmography of Truffaut and Godard, both alive today. Would they have made friends again?

February 14, 2012 Posted by | film within film, Godard, Godard/Truffaut, Truffaut | , | Leave a comment

FILM Pierrot le Fou and Post-New Wave French Cinema

Studies in French Cinema: UK Perspectives 1985-2010 GoogleBook


Will Higbee, Sarah Leahy

Chapter 2

Pierrot le Fou and Post-New Wave French Cinema

This GoogleBook chapter is complete and could be classified as the complete guide to Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, for those who watch art house films but often don’t have the faintest idea what is going on. If you have a deep knowledge of all aspects of culture, you might watch this and understand it fully first time. I didn’t. I got something about it being a film as a cartoon, in which the characters in the film spent some of their time reading out the cartoon in which they were acting out. Plus a few other bits.

Here it’s explained in full, so you can now watch it a second, or is it third time, with greater understanding.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Pierrot le Fou, post-New Wave | , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Godard Moviemaker Magazine Issue #38 [April/May 2000]

This is a one page scroll (roughly equivalent to about 4 pages of A4) on Godard from Moviemaker April/may 2000. Can’t find title or author, so it’ll have to go up like this for now :

This is the result of a search for Godard in Moviemaker

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Godard | Leave a comment