I’m very partial to a little book of film-philosophy called “Forms of Being” by Leo Bersani and Ulysses Dutoit, which spends roughly one-third of its length analyzing Contempt, with stupendous results. (The other films discussed in the book are All about My Mother, Malick’s The Thin Red Line, and to a lesser extent Jarman’s Caravaggio and Godard’s Je vous salue, Marie.)
The book is essentially a work of Continental philosophy, but is quite accessible (by the standards of that field, anyway), while making a very interesting argument about the ways that these particular films encourage viewers to reject one kind of seeing and embrace a more ethical kind of seeing. The authors’ discussion of Contempt is probably the best analysis I’ve seen, at least judging on the basis of depth of insight, as is their take on the Malick film, and I think it might help a reader grasp why even among Godard’s mighty oeuvre, many viewers single out Contempt as doing something especially noteworthy. Might be worth checking out.
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