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¶ SWAP Le mépris 1963 JLG

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¶ SWAP Le mépris 1963 JLG

#1

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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Wednesday, June 9th

This is when this SWAP will commence proper and when it will mean "lights, camera, acción" for Godard's 'Les mépris', aka 'Contempt'.
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This means that on that day we will discuss and if possible also watch said Nouvelle Vague classic here. Who is we? It is scheduled for Carmel and myself but anyone else who wants to participate can and should do so, no invitation letter required. So, read you on Wednesday!
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on June 10th, 2021, 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#2

Post by Tim2460 »

Brigitte bardot bardot.....
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#3

Post by Carmel1379 »

It's a sultry evening in Springernation. The French title is announced in Caps-Lock. Violins announcing Vivaldi's four seasons ("the darkness lurks in all four seasons"). This is my second viewing of this Film, which I have previously seen on DVD when I was about 14. I'm rewatching this film for the soul with French audio and French subtitles. "Il y'a aussi Jacques Palance et Georgia Moll," said the narrator, not yet mentioning Fritz Lang. Edits will not follow.

A woman walks. Men walk behind. A camera moves on train tracks. "C'est un film de Jean-Luc Godard." Duh. JLG is an auteur. Ah yes, now I know where the gif comes from. Je ne sais pas nonplus. Plus agents, casting, such beautiful music, the music, the music, it continues, it crescendos, the cigs after sexy croissants, musique romantique, Romanticism.-Oui.-I have only seen one Rohmer film.-Have you seen Oldboy?-Elle traduit.-En anglais.-Toutes les émotions humanist.-You mean unhumanist or anti-humanist?-Humanist.-Really?-Teatro n 6.-C'est la fin du cinema.-"On dit ça depuis 50 ans mais il existera toujours !""-On a besoin un metteur en scène allemand"-Three. For example.

Discussions continue at a cinematheque. People talk during a film viewing. A woman holds a white-green-orange pen in her hand. She looks mesmerized by the motion picture. It's as if swimming is so difficult to learn. Who has been unfaithful? Who's smoking a cig? Who's filming the filmmakers?

"To pursue knowledge and virtue." - Fritz Lang
"Do you know that?" - F.L.
"Yes. Quite well."

Musique douce

"Our joy has changed to grief."

That's the Mike Drop. Eleven Saved Him. :$

Telekinesis.

the blue bus is calling us - James "Jim" Douglas Morrison.

2nd viewing, 16/20, rating unchanged.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on June 9th, 2021, 9:34 pm, edited 11 times in total.
arittake no (yume (nikki)) & I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies

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#4

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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>Young Riccardo Molteni, who sees himself as an intellectual writer, does work he despises, preparing scripts for distasteful film productions.<
So it is written on Wikipedia, beginning to describe the story of the "Italian existential novel" that LE MÉPRiS is based on.

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LE MÉPRiS is set up as a behind the scenes of sorts. The world didn't need to wait for Godot for such navel-gazing to manifest, Hollywood itself has always had a tradition of movies about movies. So don't expect a lot of great insights from it (and you might just get them) even if this movie show is predestined to have a special flavor, I don't reckon, for example, 'Singin' in the Rain' has a scene in which it sells its audience the craft of creating movie magic by showing a crew doing a dolly shot to film a subject as un-dream factory-like as a lone woman quietly doing a walk-and-read. LE MÉPRiS is a Hollywood film inside a funhouse mirror, with the spirit of Antonioni holding up the looking glass. A send-up of sorts of Hollywood and en vogue arthouse cinema in the same breath. JLG ringing those bells of veneer, and their hollowness resounds loudly.

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A couple plays out a domestic quarrel, drama enters a relationship so that a story can be told. It serves as fuel for a fresh interpretation of a classic. An artist's personalized epic. For the work to be original. For the work to have little to do with the original. Conjured up is a quarrel about nothing in order to have a film about something. A life to live so that it can feed creativity for a film. Living life so that it can be seen, be commodified. Live for who? Live for what? For posterity? A life after death? The yearning for permanence?

Weh spricht: Vergeh!
Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit —,
— will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit!​

-F.N.

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The characters don't need depth. They are mythical figures. To mirror their counterparts. Ulysses, Minerva, Neptune, etc. Archetypes of decidedly ambiguous psychology. To be like their counterparts, endlessly deep in the universal truths they impart, vulgarly trivial in their details. Gods and mythical figures reject depth, it reflects off them. They are complete the way they are, as stony statues, to be "marbled" at. Figures, not characters. To tell their stories what it needs are big gestures, poetic and epic… epic poem. Homer.

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Also like made for myth: Italy meets America, as Ancient Rome meets Ancient Greece. The lines blur, distinctions become irrelevant. This is modernity, the global world. And it is the internationality of cinema, aiming to have and be for no particular culture, instead to have and be for a universal culture. But tainted, of course, above all, by the economic power of its age, in the colors blue, white and red. Those are the colors of the USA. Those are also the colors of France.

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Those colors are the protagonists in some sense. Or is it yellow rather than white? At any case, cinematic window-dressing. In vulgar CinemaScope and Technicolor they provide the most basic of visual stimuli. Shot with widescreen lenses and the ridiculous distortion that they give the picture. It's veneer and it works. It stimulates successfully. Vulgar and poetic. "In cinema style is substance". A film made as if to prove this axiom, made by an intellectual in cynical mode. Cynical much like Godard's approach in one of his other 1963 films, 'Les carabiniers', a decidedly low-budget absurdist black comedy on war, in which all faith in humanity is removed, all feelings in its characters that border on noble are removed, all action that borders on independent behavior is removed. That film's protagonists, by the way, are named Michelangelo and Ulysses.

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This is Rome, Cinecittà Studios on its last legs. Rome, the stage of the Gods has become the stage for staging the Gods of Ancient Rome. Ancient Rome was a once great civilization that has left its traces but which itself is no more. And the fall of Cinecittà...by now in 2021 it is long complete, I suppose. And not only Cinecittà's fall, but maybe cinema's fall as well. Pronounced prematurely here. A prophecy of cinema being the invention without future. This is perhaps the true tragedy that LE MÉPRiS sheds its tears for. The thought that this medium that has become the modern carrier of myths is dying, and with it follow the myths, and so do also the Gods that man invented die. The end of ideals. Throwing it all away in an iconic gesture that is a throwback to the memory it spells doom for. Der Untergang.

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Godard's and Lang's film finally become one in their empty gaze onto an ocean of possibilities and of eternal renewal, the vital nothingness that births everything. The more one talks the less the words mean. And the end is SiLENZiO.


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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on June 10th, 2021, 3:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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#5

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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Despise what? What does LE MÉPRiS have contempt for?
It has contempt for the cinema that fits our desires. For it produces a world that is deserving of our contempt. If movies are our new myths then our myths are now saturated by our desires. But our desires don't produce high values.
"Consider your origin. You were not born to live as brutes, but to pursue knowledge and virtue."

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Ancient Greece, the origin of theater, of modern drama. Here this culture is evoked, Greek tragedy is evoked.
"The Odyssey" becomes "Contempt". Tragedy remains tragedy.
The impartation of myth. Epic poems then, Hollywood movies now?

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Greek tragedy also means characters being victims of their fate. Things play out the way things must play out.
Even in a film with no interest in story, that makes a relationship drama out of nothing. The guy whores his wife out to the producer because doing so might be good for his career. And this turns her grumpy...

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...Now, to see this as the crux of the conflict would be to oversell that point, to dwell on it for the sake of rationalizing it. Rather it is their dwelling on the woman's discontent which may be devoid of any reasons that creates this conflict, that manifests a problem, that conjures up disdain where there may have been none before. The recipe for marital dispute: Ask "why?", "why?", "why?", instead of introducing a new idea to occupy their minds, a fresh frame of mind that blows away discontent that has no reason.

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The director who shows us the world, from whose point of view we see the world.

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What story does JLG tell with LE MÉPRiS?
Stories are a dime a dozen. Paper that you can wipe your ass with is almost more valuable than novels except that for now there isn't any shortage of toilet paper either. But a book, it's barely good enough to cover your ass with.

From Lang to Godard to Kubrick:
Godard's 'Les Carabiniers', also from 1963, which I watched two days ago, made me think a lot of Kubrick's (anti-)war films, albeit the absurdity it evokes is produced through very different means, it's rather akin to having the entire film populated by Alex DeLarges, who is representative of the average person. Anyway. So I also rewatched 'Dr. Strangelove' that day. And so...

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The tiny book gag. Where does it come from? I don't know. But tiny books are real. The gag isn't a stretch of the imagination.
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#6

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

Carmel1379 wrote: June 9th, 2021, 8:52 pm
Do you know how to swim?
(in water)
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#7

Post by Carmel1379 »

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: June 10th, 2021, 12:59 am
Carmel1379 wrote: June 9th, 2021, 8:52 pm
Do you know how to swim?
(in water)
Yeah, I had some swimming lessons in Luxembourg, which is a place with a library & a conservatoire & spirits (strong alcohol) legal from the age of sixteen.

Besides, what are your favourite chess opening sequences? You know I play the Caro-Kahn.
arittake no (yume (nikki)) & I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies

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#8

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

Carmel1379 wrote: June 10th, 2021, 5:09 pm
Perception de Ambiguity wrote: June 10th, 2021, 12:59 am
Carmel1379 wrote: June 9th, 2021, 8:52 pm
Do you know how to swim?
(in water)
Yeah, I had some swimming lessons in Luxembourg, which is a place with a library & a conservatoire & spirits (strong alcohol) legal from the age of sixteen.

Besides, what are your favourite chess opening sequences? You know I play the Caro-Kahn.
The ones where I move a random piece and just hope that I won't be put in check immediately.
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#9

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

Carmel1379 wrote: June 9th, 2021, 8:52 pmthe blue bus is calling us - James "Jim" Douglas Morrison.
Guess what shamanic vision cum celluloid I'm watching right now.

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Where did the driver take you?

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#10

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

And on that note...

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IMDb trivia:
>Contrary to the myth that Jean-Luc Godard makes films without a screenplay, there was a script for Contempt (1963) and it ran to 132 pages.<

some more:
>Jean-Luc Godard was very dismissive of the source material - Alberto Moravia's novel 'Il Disprezzo' - calling it "a nice vulgar read for a train journey".<

>Godard was forced into shooting in CinemaScope.<

>Jean-Luc Godard had been curious about making a big budget production. This more than satisfied his experience (he hated making the film).<

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(from 'Le dinosaure et le bébé: Dialogue en huit parties entre Fritz Lang et Jean-Luc Godard' shot in 1964)

>Godard called the film "the story of castaways of the Western world...who one day reach a mysterious island, whose mystery is the inexorable lack of mystery."<

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more from this photoplay here: no, here
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#11

Post by Carmel1379 »

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: June 9th, 2021, 11:12 pm>Young Riccardo Molteni, who sees himself as an intellectual writer, does work he despises, preparing scripts for distasteful film productions.<
So it is written on Wikipedia, beginning to describe the story of the "Italian existential novel" that LE MÉPRiS is based on.

(...)

Godard's and Lang's film finally become one in their empty gaze onto an ocean of possibilities and of eternal renewal, the vital nothingness that births everything. The more one talks the less the words mean. And the end is SiLENZiO.
It's obvious by the quasi-static camera style and setting, that this is most likely the most anti-Godarian Godard film, and how much that man must've sweated salt while making this movie. The characters insist on wearing shirts, discussing high-budget production, and maintaining very ironic detachment/distance from each other. 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle is my favourite Godard film and the one I remember most fondly, because we watched it synchronously. If that film is about capitalism, then so is Contempt. It's also about "young trophy wives," women or females appearing in front of cameras.

Netflix summarises:
"A screenwriter must fight many battles to get his version of Homer's Odyssey to the big screen: He's at odds with his producer and his director."

This probably sounds better in French, but then again, the French enjoy taking baths together and surprising us by making spaghetti. The joke is punctuated by the fact Brigitte Bardot is blonde and the woman helping the t.e.a.m. ("together everyone achieves more") to translate is a brunette. The characters dance to the romantic violin music like muses, as if they were uttering codes for the future.

Brigitte Bardot wears a wig at some point. Her husband immediately dismisses her choice of wig. She doesn't like the fact he smokes so much. He's balding. But he prefers his wife to look like he wants her to look. He's coldly projecting his preferences unto her, while she just asked him a simple question. So they must immediately start a quasi-fight. Films are referenced in these quasi-fights too. The man walks out of the bath sporting a Greek or Roman bathrobe, worn by people from those ancient times to escape the sultriness and the sweat.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on June 15th, 2021, 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#12

Post by Carmel1379 »

I will now share some of my personal handwritten notes on Homer's 'The Odyssey' (transl. Robert Fagles).

Odysseus <=> Outis/Nemo. The if and only if condition is Odysseus's trick against the non-xenial Cyclop Polyphemus, blinded by Odysseus such that Polyphemus prayed to Poseidon for Odysseus to "come home", but "a broken man" (but obviously note TfA & Ulysses & the notion of Odysseus as endlessly voyaging/exploring, island to island, kingdom to kingdom, planets to planets.) Book Ten (after the 'The One-Eyed Giant's Cave') is called 'The Bewitching Queen of Aeaea' (pronounced in English "a-kee'-a"). A floating island with huge ramparts of bronze. The sea and the sky, connected with sheer rock cliffs. King Aeolus broke forth with an ultimatum: "Away from my island - fast - most cursed man alive! It's a crime to host a man or speed him on his way when the blessed deathless gods despise him so. Crawling back like this it proves the immortals hate you! Out - get out!"

Next, Circe: "You must be Odysseus, man of twists and turns, [Hermes always said you'd come] & here we're back to (self-fulfilling?) prophecies, to complex interlocked dynamics, the obscure workings of fate, encounters, tragedies, catastrophies, anastrophies, & of course Circle: (10.371) "mix in the magic work of love".

About Book 11 I've already written about here.

While reading Book 15 I was inspired to write this down: "funnily enough Odysseus -- being Eumaeus's old master -- most probably already knows what Eumaeus is about to tell, but of course in the text's sequential layout the reader/listener doesn't, of course Odysseus needs to pass the time & naturally takes please in hearing another's orations, Of course a lot of these stories contain substories, newly introduced characters & digressions, kinships/accomplishments/lands-peoples-based babble. recall 'The Illiad' & all its squadrons & how they'd tell about people's deeds & speedily talk about someone's parents or siblings. impossible-to-know-dialogues/monologues/commands of characters within a teller's stories, hence: the teller just makes them up, just like the teller was made up by Homer.

Odysseus: "Look at the good fortune Zeus sends you, / hand-in-hand with the bad."
arittake no (yume (nikki)) & I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies

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