Events: Cincinnati World Cinema

Contempt remains an ambiguous, beautifully crafted, startlingly fresh investigation of artistic integrity and romantic longing in a world gone haywire. See it in all its big-screen, CinemaScope glory at the Cincinnati World Cinema in the Cincinnati Art M

If forced to choose at gunpoint, I’d have to say Contempt is my favorite Godard film. Less fractured and fleeting than his more experimental ’60s films, it digs deeper while not sacrificing any of the master’s metaphysical or formal hijinks. The thing works on all kind of levels, the least of which is its lacerating take on the moviemaking process itself. (The filming of Contempt, which is considered Godard’s most “commercial” movie, was just as tempestuous as what we see on screen.) Based on Alberto Moravia’s novel Ghost at Noon, the narrative centers on a French playwright/screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) who is hired to rewrite the script of The Odyssey, a film adaptation of Homer’s epic directed by Fritz Lang, who plays himself. The writer’s wife (Briggite Bardot), for whom he has taken the job in order to buy her a new apartment, simultaneously begins to fall out of love with him — she believes he is compromising his integrity by bowing to a blowhard American producer (played with hilarious virility by Jack Palance). Things come to a head during a lengthy, fascinating sequence in the couple’s apartment — a masterpiece of psychological realism that seemed to mirror Godard’s own disintegrating marriage to actress Anna Karina. Forty-five years after its debut, Contempt remains an ambiguous, beautifully crafted, startlingly fresh investigation of artistic integrity and romantic longing in a world gone haywire. And I can’t wait to finally see it in all its big-screen, CinemaScope glory. Get details about showtimes, tickets and nearby bars and restaurants here.

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