Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Year Released: 1963
Revered Godardian prattle about infidelity and the impotent male in a power struggle; 'appreciation' of the film is based not only on what you know about moviemaking, but also Godard's personal life, his political views, his visual style, the history of the production of this actual picture (and the difficulty dealing with Carlo Ponti and Joseph Levine), semiotics (the colors red, white and blue reappear throughout as well as other symbols), film and literary theory, Greek history, Homer, Brecht, cinematic techniques (the obvious use of tracking shots) and other artistic matters: after that it's simply a matter of checking things off the list, and joining everyone else in patting Godard on the back for including them all in a single picture. It isn't much of a 'film' in the standard sense: the technique always draws attention away from the performers, and the performers are merely hollow shells for Godard's mad ramblings - the scenes in the apartment stretch on for an eternity, but you're also supposed to realize they're supposed to, and that the director's actually testing you (the distancing technique is intentional, the film's repetitive nature is intentional, etc.). Contempt not only shows disdain for the producers (who want dull commercialism) but it also manages the tricky feat of actually hating itself.