Jean-Luc Godard’s “Contempt/Le mepris” (1963) is the first part of his religious trilogy, followed by “Hail, Mary” (1985) and “Woe Is Me” (1993). While “Contempt” examines the psychological mechanism of relations between humans and gods of pagan “design” – the human humans (the people with psychology of god-worshippers) and the human gods (people with psychology of unconscious identification with gods), “Hail, Mary” analyzes the psychological roots of the Christian cult of Saint Mary, and “Woe is Me” – the return of pagan gods into post-Christian modernity in a form of technological constructions, tools and toys dominating people’s life in Western democracies.
In his analysis of religious psychology Godard separates people from religious (in a narrow sense) practices and metaphorizes these practices on personal and social relations between people in order to make their religious essence more articulate and vivid for the perception of the viewers. Religious psychology is not necessary creates loyalty to despotic dogmas (many atheists are very religious by psychology). In “Contempt” Godard shows how religious feelings show itself in private relations between Paul (Michel Piccoli), a modest writer of detective stories but educated and with an exceptional existentially spiritual taste person, and his wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot), a monumental beauty, and in social relations between Paul (identifying with Homer and Odyssey) and the mighty Hollywood producer Jeremiah Prokosch (the new incarnation of Poseidon/Neptune), played by Jack Polance in the only intellectually serious performance of his whole career. The both “gods” – Camille and Prokosch, are depicted with tender and subtle caricaturishness, while Paul’s destiny Godard generalizes as that of us all, the humanity. Godard deconstructs the relations between humans and gods as known in history - as metaphoric constructions of markedly sociomorphic relations between human beings as such (personified by Paul) and the human gods (personified by Camille and Prokosch). On the level of the plot the film describes the disagreements between Paul (the author of screenplay), Fritz Lang (the director) who plays himself, and Prokosch (the producer) – all trying together to make a film based on Homer’s Odyssey. But Godard’s scholarly intentions in the film are not limited to symbolizing a certain type of relations between human beings into relations between humans and gods. The second important scientific contribution of Godard in “Contempt” is his classification of the types of bonds human beings are prone to establish between themselves and our historical past, and themselves and any work of art they perceive and react on. Here Prokosch personifies the type of perception of the past which is based on our projection into the historical past of our self-aggrandizement (our megalomaniacal need). For him Ancient Greece is a kind of Olympus in comparison with today’s life. This is, essentially, a conservative position based on authoritarian/totalitarian behavioral habits including the proneness for religious or secular cult of ancestors. The second position is represented by Lang who tends to “objectively” study the human past without the need for any identification with it. This position is that of liberal scholars – it’s the accumulation of a kind of an archival knowledge about the past without any worshipful or critical emotions. The third position is represented by Paul who sees in people of the previous epochs our existential brothers. He learns from the past and from the art and understood that people who lived before us made their own attempts to resolve their problems with gods as idealized models (theologized, from Olympus, or living on the Olympus of the tops of the social hierarchy), as we today trying to with the human gods of our times. Existential identification with our ancient ancestors is simultaneously brotherly and critical. The same three positions – projection of self-aggrandizement (or its negative reflection – the dismissal: “I love-I hate” approach), “objective” position of “neutral/truthful” representation, and existential identification Godard discerns in our relations with works of art.
“Contempt” occupies not only a unique place in history of cinema and Western culture in general, but a distinguished place of an exemplary work of art.
Please, visit: www.actingoutpolitics.com to read an essay about the film (with analysis of stills from it) – “Psychology of Human Obsession with Super-human (Human Need for Association with Gods as a Result of Problems in Relations between People)”.
While the past cannot be changed, its hard to believe this issue has not yet been addressed. It is unfortunate that film is still being handled as a second class art form at NCMA, particularly since these film series have become more and more popular over the years. Not only is a cultural service being handicapped to current and future patrons, but an opportunity for increased revenue to the museum is being missed. With proper facilities, NCMA could become the premiere venue for classic film in North Carolina. Lets hope improvement and expansion plans will be in the works soon.
While it is true that digital projection is becoming the mainstay of multiplexes, there is good reason not to turn our backs on reel-to-reel presentation in the indoor auditorium. Doing so would effectively eliminate access to archival film libraries, which stipulate their films be presented using this "obsolete" technology. As long as there is demand for screening classic and archival prints, there will be a need for reel-to-reel presentation.
Kevin Porter, NCMA Projectionist
It’s important to understand that hypnosis is NOT a tool for retrieving lost memories – period. “Memories” that surface during hypnosis are notoriously unreliable. With a little guidance from the hypnotist, the subject may “remember” things that never happened – from past lives to alien abductions. In reality, clinical hypnosis is a powerful tool that can help with a wide variety of emotional, cognitive, and even physical issues. It is essential that the person doing the hypnosis be a professional clinician who has solid credentials, such as membership in one of the major clinical hypnosis associations. See http://ronaldgbegley.com for more info.
Thanks, you're right. I kept notes watching this but it's hard to keep track, especially when I occasionally can't read my own hand writing. I wish I were kidding.
Nice review, but Nick was not one of the privileged kids. He was "Nick the farm boy." He went to a one-room school house, not a private school, although he did end up at Oxford. He's also the only one who moved to the U.S. and the only one who earned a Ph.D.
I am a big fan of Tarantino........having said that, the review of Django is excellent.
I had the exact same reaction to the film.
Despite some wonderful acting and scenes, it was disappointing.
Giving back to the community indeed Ms. Karen Brown...More like scavenging on what's left of it..
Art houses and book stores and record shops ... you will be missed.
Ugh. Another damn review lauding the film for being "unflinching."
The problem with Zero Dark Thirty isn't that it's "amoral," as Morris claims. It's that it claims the mantle of journalistic integrity, then mucks with the very critical fact that torture, according to every public report we have available, demonstratively DID NOT produce any information which lead to the killing of bin Laden. Changing that critical fact, to my mind, obviates any grittiness or "realism" that Bigelow and Boal achieved.
Bigelow fully earned her Oscar snub. You can't claim the mantle of a journalistic eye and then change facts. And if the allegations prove true that this was changed as a sop to the CIA's PR department in exchange for access, she deserves not an Oscar, but a Congressional subpoena.
Want to know the true story of the real-life events that inspired the film? Then check out my book, Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR met George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson, on Amazon. (www.amazon.com/Hot-Dogs-Cocktails-George-e…
The story is ludicrous - any reading of Geoffrey Ward's book, "Closest Companion," which tells their story through her letters and diaries, indicates no intimate relationship. I have been writing and lecturing on FDR for decades and I have not seen the film. From reading countless reviews and seeing outtakes I have no doubt that this film is more of a parody and its conclusions should not be taken with any seriousness. FDR was a powerful personality that attracted women admirers for decades. He was also an incredibly private individual who kept his inner thoughts to very few people. These few people did not keep notes, few wrote any memoirs (Louis Howe, Missy LeHand, Harry Hopkins and others wrote nothing) and the ones that did, knew little of his relationships and inner thoughts. That era was fraught with romanticism and life was quite fragile, relationships were close, warm and very often not intimate in the least. The idea that anyone could hear, report or remember even fragments of private conversations they were not part of is specious.
Historians and fiction writers make conclusions that are quite often totally unsupported by the facts. FDR kept no diary, his letters were not ones of intimacy and there are volumes of them to peruse. Margaret “Daisy” Suckley liked to listen, had no romantic relationships in her long life, and never bothered FDR with details, demands or pressure. He was able to relax with her and he often would give her insights and updates on some of the events that had unfolded or were about to happen. She, like the president, was quite discreet. Even her siblings didn’t even know that she knew the president.
He was very careful about what he wrote and he almost never revealed any clue of his intentions. I have over 400 books on FDR, thousands of articles, artifacts and collectibles and have devoted 27 radio broadcasts over six years on FDR, the New Deal, Eleanor Roosevelt and related subjects.
Richard J. Garfunkel
Host of The Advocates
WVOX 1460 am radio
New Rochelle, NY
ELIJAH - In the movie, they specifically refer to the explosive as "dynamite," which wasn't yet invented.
Fellerath is wrong both about the explosive and the rifle used in the long distance kill neither of which he believes was invented at the time the movie was set.
1. It of course wasn't dynamite which had not been invented: it was gunpowder which was invented by the ancient Chinese and which was the basis of mixtures widely used for mining prior to dynamite. In the movie Django in fact acquires the explosive from transporters employed by a mining company.
2. Fellerath found the long distance kill unrealistic because the rifle employed was not available in 1858. Wrong, the gun was a Sharp Co. rifle which came out in 1848 The Sharp was very accurate and did have a very long range.
Dont you have anyone check facts? Often wrong, never in doubt
Mr. Fellerath: Tough to walk the critical line between art and exploitation, you did it well with your fair-minded assessment of Django. The bloodfest described in the last hour of Django reflects a pornography of violence that too many are quick to dismiss as art for the greater good. I'll pass on Tarantino this year. Thanks.
Hm, guess I'll save my money, unless you you think it could be the butt of a burst of many future jokes. Which, in hindsight, was the best reason to go see avatar.
One of the top ten documentaries of 2012.
Searching for Sugar Man is one of the best documentaries I've seen in a long time. What an awesome and inspiring story. I would suggest this movie to anyone! It's got a very good chance of being in the running for best documentary in the academy awards. Sixto Rodriguez is such a humble and thankful person. Even though he hasn't had the best of luck in his succes as a musician, he is thankful for the life he has. And now he deserves all the success that's coming to him. We really enjoyed having Sixtoin our studio to perform, check him out and go see the movie! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5PF8ykKUWE
Loved it but I thought Affleck's acting was the weakest part. Plus Mendez was Hispanic. Would it have killed him to employ an actor of color?
Can't wait to see it! Found this cool video of No Diggity played entirely by saxophones - yeh even the drums! It's called Saxapella - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dRrhDPGcto.
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