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Why This Scene Matters Pt. 2

February 5, 2012
tags:

Every Picture Tells a Story
In most films dialogue scenes are filmed face first i.e. the person talking is filmed directly then when the other person speaks the camera cuts to them.
Not so with Godard.
Here you have from Contempt the end scene of what can be described as the breakdown of a marriage in real time (the almost uninterrupted tracking shot leading up to this is pure bravura film making genius that sets Godard apart from all others in my opinion.).
The characters speak while the camera acquires a 3rd person perspective panning back and forth between speakers panning away when they are talking. Just at the moment the camera should be stationary and focused on the speaker.
Almost using the triangular light as a fulcrum for the back and forth of a couple’s argument Goddard is able to achieve an internal rhythm at once deeply present with the couple’s narrative and at the same time commenting on it.
It’s this scene that really exemplifies the greatness of Contempt namely its ability to be a true self-reflexive art film shot within a Hollywood narrative and bathed in Cinemascope.
The Godard of the late 50’s to early 70’s was the most amazing uninterrupted arc of filmmaking greatness since ….

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