it was a pleasure to burn: an essay looking at the way Jean-Luc Godard comments on the image of "woman" in Le Mémpris (1963)
with a focus on aspects of the misé-en-scene.
Le Mémpris (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) is a story of a deteriorating relationship between man and woman, against the harsh backdrop of cinematic industry culture. Paul and Camille are in Edward Hopper-esque Italy, and Paul has been…
I always felt that Godot wanted so much to pervert BB’s very beauty and charisma in Le Mepris — indeed, that he was projecting all of his simultaneous love and loathing of his ex-wife (the lovely Anna Karina, whose dark hair appeared as BB’s wig!) toward BB and exorcising the enchantment she still held over him by destroying the character based on her.
He could not control the real woman, but he could take a sort of petty vengeance on deconstructing and destroying her cinematic doppleganger, the ill-fated Camille played by Brigitte. His own conflicted feelings toward feminine charm, beauty, and volatility has always been the crux of the movie — and the key to understanding how he composed all of his hypnotic, iconic images of BB.