Le Mépris

Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1963


There’s a story behind this sequence. Godard hadn’t intended to film it, but after the American distributor, who was the principal financier of the film saw it they cut out Bridget Bardot’s nude scenes. Godard accepted their choice, but chose not to compromise his cinematic craft. He didn’t want to shoot shots which showed his actress in a flat sexy way, voyeuristically showing her off. He chose to deconstruct Bardot’s nude scene through working with colour. “I shot them in a certain manner, in a certain colour, I lit them in red and blue so that they became something else, so that she became more unreal, more profound, more serious than simply that of Bridget Bardot on a bed. I wanted to transform her because cinema can – and must – transform reality.” In effect the dominance of the colours, which resemble the early tinted works in cinema, such as the excerpt from Nosferatu, were added the laboratory in post production. The proof is where, in the scene Godard leaves a brief moment of real, non altered colour. Because this passage, in both senses, takes place between a normal image and a tinted image, which starts off tinted, becomes, without cutting away, non tinted and then returns to being tinted again.



arbitrary colour.