SteelCity99 - wrote on 04/28/18
Godard's constant self-centered intellectualism overflow and his constant cascades of artistic, philosophic and cinematic influences have never been a problem to me. Even if he wants to use cinema as an artistic medium to transform the dialogues, the characters, the references and the landscapes into a repetitive reflection of his own perception of the world and the meaning of art in life, such perception is fascinating. His ideas have a tremendous depth which only flaw is not to listen to the ideas of others. I suppose that being a genius comes with a prize.
But that's not the issue here.
Week End (1967) and La Chinoise (1967) would be two of his most flawless, brilliant and impressionistic masterpieces of his whole canon. Both share a sense of disaster and turmoil, and both focus more on the impressions caused by the symbolisms and the imagery. Le Mépris is the first film to rely on this visual technique to explore the psychology of the characters. Does it work fully? Not quite! Despite how ahead-of-its-time it looks, it doesn't seem to work because dialogues drag. The situations do not drag, as some claim them to do, but the speeches. Characters seem to be reiterating points already stated. But if they keep talking, that probably means that they haven't really gotten to the point. But the point remains the same. But they keep talking, and the scene keeps rolling. Tárr never drags. Godard dragged, and there was no point in repointing out the pointed-out point.
Was this a stepping stone? Maybe it was, but maybe Godard himself realized that the impact caused by the style of Le Mépris was never totally justified by its ideas, even if they were metafilm... heck, even if the movie starred Fritz Lang himself!
I won't deny how perfect Bardot's body is in spite of her face, and how epic is to see an Expressionism/Noir master to participate with what I think were his own mental contributions, but this ambitious style would finally find its proper place in 1967, not here, even if it was pretty much worth it. After all, some of us are suckers for stories about frustrated relationships carried out completely by a tiny cast, dialogue and engaging performances. This is not Linklater's "Before Trilogy". It goes beyond just because of the handful of topics it deals with regarding art and business, and that's an undeniable achievement.