As Band of Outsiders suddenly went on a wait list the morning my next Netflix shipment was set to leave, I went to my local Hastings to rent it in order to get to the other Godard films that comprised the shipment without skipping (again). While I was there, I decided to idly rent Contempt for a re-watch out of curiosity to see if anything changed after doubling back to catch the features I missed.
I don't have much to add to my initial observations of the film, so this will be brief. But this time I allowed the film to simply happen rather than take stringent notes, and I found myself more engaged overall. Also, having seen Les Carabiniers, his take on more traditional filmmaking, and taking into stock its reception, I can now better appreciate Godard's focus on the film-within-the-film aspect of Contempt, though I did enjoy it the first time around.
That's another reason I feel like writing this: looking over my original post on the film, it strikes me as more negative than I intended. I admired almost everything in Contempt, particularly its bits focusing on the relationship, but I took issue with the way the two distinct plots were used without ever intertwining properly. To some extent I still agree with that, but now I see Contempt as even more a work of self-criticism. The relationship plot clearly serves to reveal the director's sense of mistakes in his relationship with Karina, while the Odyssey film (in which Godard has Fritz Lang serve as his stand-in, which perhaps reveals a contradictory hubris for a self-critical work) speaks to his concerns of his future as an artist. These themes were readily apparent the first time, but they resonate more when I know the full context. I'm finding that I simply must run through Godard's filmography in order, because he does not seem to separate his personal life from his artistic one (which might explain the messy collision of the two here). It's an idea I'm only toying with now, but I shall be interested to see how that develops as I continue.
Anyway, while I still have some quibbles with the film, it's undoubtedly the most accomplished Godard film I've yet seen, as well as the most revealing about the auteur, but I still prefer A Woman is a Woman for the consistency of its ability to whisk me away whilst still being intelligent. And now I begin to fear that I'm going to end up running through his films (the ones I can find, at least), and then have to turn around and start again when I reach the end to get a definitive reading. Oh well, it's not like I have a social life.