Le Mépris (Contempt) – 60th Anniversary (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Who’d have wagered that Lionsgate would release the first 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray of the late master of cinema Jean-Luc Goddard? Not I. Criterion seems to have been sleeping on him. Lucky for us though, when Studio Canal does something in the UK, Lionsgate will mirror it in the US as they have with Le Mépris (Contempt). After a delay, it was released on October 24th. Featuring a previously done introduction, the film pretty much is bare bones in this. But, in terms of thing, us collectors have to be just grateful that those with the rights put something out at all. You can order yourself a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of this review.



Weaving provocative storylines with a stunning visual style, Le Mépris is a movie within a movie. On the surface, the film is about a director (Michel Piccoli) whose wife Camille (screen legend Brigitte Bardot) falls out of love with him while he rewrites an adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey for an American producer (Jack Palance). But underneath this tale of a doomed romance lies Godard’s true subject: the commercial film industry, which he skewers in an unforgettable tour de force that is subversive, darkly comic, and completely original.

Le Mépris is a fascinating art imitates life (or life imitating art?) tale that powers itself behind strong cinematography, strong dialogue and swell performances from its leads. This is a film that feels large and cinematic, but one amateur would probably not understand how. There’s a lot to chew on and sit in your head for days after watching. Which, proves that even in his most standard and traditional form, Goddard is a filmmaker that delivers in ways no other can.

Goddard’s film, appropriately entitled in the US as Contempt, is a hell of an experience through a writer’s struggles on his work bleeding into is own marriage. Paul Javal struggles with finding some new ground in a cinematic adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey and once given the spark of an idea, subliminally tries to give it a practice run in his own life. Either knowingly or unknowingly, it the results don’t follow the fictional resolve his words were promising. There are many points at which it could be stopped, but he allows it to continue with irreparable damage.

At the center of this film is an incredible 35-ish minute sequence of a deep argument from the married couple at the center of the film. Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli perform the hell out of it and Goddard captures it in such a way that feels effortless. While there are not a lot of cuts, nor camera movements, the camera is set in such the perfect way and the scenes blocked out masterfully. There are a lot of tells, ideas and information conveyed in what you see that takes it beyond the conversation your ears are taking in.

Goddard proves he can make a more traditional and more studio-like film while still delivering the goods you expect from him in Le Mépris. Bardot shines here in such a devious and crushing role. Goddard plays around with her traditional expectations and heightens them by giving you her performance over her body. Add to that some fantastic dialogue, conflict and unique locals that film superbly, and you have yourself a helluva mixture. Its a film that shows both a line tip toed in an artist flood their creativity in their life and the thin line with which a human’s emotion towards another can crack in an instant.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are from promotional images supplied by the studio, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Le Mépris (Contempt) arrives on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format with a 4K restoration of the film completed on behalf of StudioCanal. I haven’t experience that disc they put out in the UK, but I imagine this is the equivalent. Its a very cinematic looking disc, with a nice crisp imagine with strong colors and a 60s cinematic feel.

Depth:  Depth of field is quite good here as many open, big locals showcase a grander sense of scale. Movements are smooth and natural and no issues occur with motion distortions.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and natural with no issues occurring with information being hidden. Patterns, textures and fine details ease through on darker surfaces. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: One of the beauties here in a Goddard film are the appearance of the colors and be it filters or clothing, they looks quite lovely here. Blues, reds and yellows are are quite bold and refined.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural an consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures showcase good, clean information from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean


Audio Format(s): French 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: The film features a rather nice mono track that handles flip flopping of multiple languages used in the film that seems utterly seamless in execution. There are some nice layers and airiness in this mixture that is pleasant and lived in.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp with a faint analog his playing as a base.


Le Mépris (Contempt) – 60th Anniversary comes with a redeemable digital code.

Introduction by Colin MacCabe (HD, 5:31)


Le Mépris (Contempt) shows Goddard at his most traditional storytelling while still pushing the envelope and crafting something in a way only he could. Lionsgate releases the United States version of the StudioCanal disc with equal triumphs on both the audio and visual sides of the coin. I wish there were a lot more in the way of extras, as that’s the weakest point. However, getting this on 4K and from Lionsgate feels like a win (and hence, bonus) all itself.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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